Donald Trump has been good for America because he has exposed those who've taken advantage of the Republican Party, Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., alleged Tuesday.
The moment came as the New York lawmaker appeared on CNN to discuss the 2016 presidential election and the GOP nominee's claim that he would be a better candidate for African-American and other minority voters.
"I really believe that Trump is providing a service to this country. People talk about racism on the Republican and Democrat's administration, but this thing with slavery never goes away," he told CNN's Chris Cuomo.
"And it goes beyond just black Americans because I don't really think that the framers of the Constitution were thinking about Mexicans and Latins and Muslims. And so every decade we really test this sacred document to see whether it can be the ideals of what was in the Constitution," Rangel said.
The congressman continued, and accused Trump of taking advantage of anti-Democratic voters who've switched over to the GOP.
"When you find a guy like Trump that doesn't play by the rules, that takes advantage of all of the people that have jumped over to be anti-Democratic, and he did it under Republican cover," Rangel said." The same way the Democrats had Dixiecrats [come over] under Roosevelt. They didn't brag about it, but they knew they were lynching and killing people. They never said anything about it."
Cuomo interjected, and asked Rangel if he really thinks Trump is a bigot.
"I didn't say that Roosevelt was a bigot when he accepted the Dixiecrats. I said America has been indifferent to this stigma attached to slavery. They never, even today, have ever dealt with it. We at – what I think – what Trump brings to it is that good Republicans and Americans now see that the Republican Party has been used," the congressman said.
"It has been used by bigots. It has been used by honest white folks who believe that blacks and immigrants have been responsible for them not succeeding. It's been used by a whole lot of people. And Trump now is alienating all of the people that would like to be Republicans, but now he's testing it. But, Chris, what he is doing that tests America is not playing by the rules," Rangel said.
Asked to explain how Trump doesn't "play by the rules," Rangel compared the Republican candidate to a cage fighter.
"If you put in a professional boxer, like politicians are, against a guy that is used to fighting in a cage, without any respect for the truth, without any respect for the rules, it's testing the system," Rangel said.
"Whoever thought of this system never thought about someone like Trump," he said. "He challenges the truth. He challenges the system. And it's not Republican or Democrats. He's challenging our Constitution."
The House approved a sanction of censure against Rangel on Dec. 2, 2010, after it found he had violated 11 counts of House ethics rules, including that he used his office to raise money for personal entities and that he failed to disclose rental income from property in the Dominican Republic.