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Charles Barkley Is in the Democratic Debate Spin Room and He Has Opinions

Charles Barkley isn't sure President Trump's a racist, but he does know "he's got a little anger management problem."

by Daniel Newhauser and Elizabeth Landers
Aug 1 2019, 12:17am

DETROIT — Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley doesn’t know if President Trump is racist, but he definitely thinks he has an anger management problem.

The former NBA All-Star told VICE News that Trump’s recent tweets about Baltimore can absolutely come off as racist, and that’s bad enough.

“He's got a little anger management problem,” Barkley said in an interview outside the Democratic presidential debates.

“I'm always leery of calling somebody a racist, but they can be construed as racist,” he said. “It's really unfortunate because when you waste time calling people names and things like that, nothing gets accomplished.”

Barkley said he's excited for his first time seeing a presidential debate in person. He’s rooting for former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, but he also said Sen. Elizabeth Warren was “amazing” and Bernie Sanders was “great” on Tuesday night.

Barkley, a resident of Arizona, said he met Castro when he was the mayor of San Antonio. As a fellow Southwesterner, he said immigration policy is important to him and he likes Castro’s prioritization of the issue.

As for Buttigieg, Barkley was amped to see him in person. Barkley is a proponent of gay marriage and has many friends in the LGBTQ community, so he said he’s excited to support the first gay candidate to participate in a major party debate.

But he wasn't keen on the format of the debates. He said there are too many candidates so they can’t get a word in edgewise, and any candidate who tries too hard to attack another will come off looking like an “asshole.”

Cover: Charles Barkley in the Democratic debate spin room in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo: Ben Bishop)