The Rev. Jesse Jackson gave a full-throated backing of Hillary Clinton from the Democratic National Convention stage Wednesday, branding the former secretary of state as “trusted and tested and tried.”
Jackson said Clinton could be trusted to make the right appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, to take up gun control and bring Americans together instead of threatening to deport millions like Republican nominee Donald Trump.
But while Jackson used his seven-minute speech to extol Clinton’s virtues, he also sought to heal differences within the Democratic Party and divisions that have arisen after recent shootings of black men by white police officers and the recent killing of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La.
“I stand proudly in support of the next president of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton,” Jackson said, with pair of reading glasses perched at the tip of his nose. “And let me also congratulate Bernie Sanders for energizing this campaign with ideas and hope. The Bern must never grow cold.”
As he has repeatedly in recent years, Jackson also used his time at the microphone to advocate for stronger gun control laws. But in doing so, he also voiced concerns over the recent killings of police officers.
“Hillary understands the historic dimensions of the agony, hope and promise of Black Lives Matter. She knows our scars and our suffering,” Jackson said. “The shootings of young black men must stop, and we deeply regret the killing of police officers with powerful assault weapons. Those police should be alive today. Ban assault weapons now.”
In making his case for Clinton, Jackson also decried the spike in shooting deaths in Chicago.
“She can be trusted to ban the assault weapons that have turned our communities into killing fields, with 2,300 shot in Chicago this year and nearly 250 killed this year alone,” said Jackson, though the actual number is at least 377. “Ban these assault weapons now.”
Jackson formally endorsed Clinton’s presidential bid in June, as it became clear she would secure enough delegates to win the nomination. The backing also came shortly after Clinton’s campaign announced she would speak at the annual convention of the Rainbow/Push Coalition that Jackson has run from the South Side for 50 years.
Prior to his endorsement of Clinton, Jackson had become close to Sanders, who endorsed Jackson’s 1988 presidential bid.
Jackson passed over Clinton in 2008 to endorse then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, though Obama’s star power already had begun to eclipse the reverend’s role as a spokesman in the African-American community.
There were no signs of friction between the Clintons and Jackson on Wednesday, as the 74-year-old civil rights leader capped off his speech by removing his reading glasses and repeating the same thundering refrain nine times as the crowd rose to a loud standing ovation.
“It’s healing time! It’s hope time! It’s Hillary time!”
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