Al Sharpton Lets Trump Have It at Aretha Franklin's Funeral

The Rev. Al Sharpton teaches the president a lesson in respect at Aretha Franklin's funeral Friday. (YouTube screen grab)

Much digital ink has been spilled over the lack of respect Donald Trump has shown the late Sen. John McCain, from his perfunctory Twitter tribute to his initial refusal to keep the White House flags lowered to half-staff. Considerably less has been devoted to the president’s condolences for Aretha Franklin, which may have captured him at his most pathologically narcissistic and mean-spirited. “I knew her well,” Trump said following her death Aug. 16.  “She worked for me on numerous occasions.”

On Friday, as the country’s pre-eminent performers and civil rights leaders gathered to say goodbye to the Queen of Soul, the Rev. Al Sharpton responded in no uncertain terms—by reminding the president that Franklin worked for nobody, least of all Donald Trump.

“You know the other Sunday on my show, I misspelled ‘respect,’ and a lot of y’all corrected me,” he quipped. “Now I want y’all to help me correct President Trump to teach him what it means.”

The line drew a raucous response from the crowd, and as HuffPost notes, many stood to applaud.

“And I say that because when word went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said, ‘she used to work for me,’ ” he added. “No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us. Aretha never took orders from nobody but God.”

Watch Sharpton’s stirring address and listen to a statement he read on behalf of Barack Obama below.

Jacob Sugarman
Managing Editor
Jacob Sugarman is the acting managing editor at Truthdig. He is a graduate of the Arthur L. Carter Institute of Journalism whose writing has appeared in Salon, AlterNet and Tablet, among other…
Jacob Sugarman

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