National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent called MSNBC host and civil rights activist Al Sharpton a “racist mongrel” and claimed that the only racism he can discern in the United States is “coming out of the White House” during a radio appearance.
Nugent's racially charged attack on Sharpton comes weeks before he is scheduled to appear at the NRA's annual meeting, which will be held April 10 through 12 in Nashville, Tennessee. On April 12, Nugent is scheduled to give a presentation titled “Freedom is not Free and We the People Must Keep It Alive!” According to the NRA, Nugent will “remind Americans that there is a cost for the Freedoms that we enjoy” and tell the crowd “what you can do to keep this country free” during his appearance.
During a March 24 appearance on KFYI's The Mike Broomhead Show, Nugent said that he was “shattered” to learn of racism against African-Americans as a young person, but that “by the late 60s, the 70s, I couldn't find racism. I never saw racism. I never heard of racism. I thought it was a thing of the past in isolated pockets of inbreeding and cannibalism and spiritlessness.” According to Nugent, he only became aware of racism again after hearing President Obama's comments on the controversy that surrounded the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, who is African-American, by a white police officer.
Citing Obama's remarks on Trayvon Martin, “the racism of” Attorney General Eric Holder, and “racist mongrel” Al Sharpton, Nugent said, “nowhere can I find racism except coming out of the White House.”
Nugent also argued that veterans are committing suicide because Obama will not deploy them to fight Islamic State militants, echoing previous comments where he has blamed Obama for the suicides of veterans. According Nugent, who said he trains with military members, “our military is chomping at the bit” to fight the Islamic State but veterans “are killing themselves 22-plus a day because they are heart-broke that the Commander-in-Chief is their enemy. The Commander-in-Chief won't even let them win a war.”
Nugent is a fixture at the NRA annual meetings. His 2015 appearance will mark the sixth consecutive year he delivers a talk at the event. In 2012, Nugent caused controversy for remarks he made at the meeting that he would be “dead or in jail” if Obama was reelected president.