On Thursday morning, Senator Rand Paul, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, met with Al Sharpton to discuss “criminal-justice issues and more,” according to a National Action Network press release. Sharpton released the following statement:
We talked about his position on dealing with some criminal justice issues that I am concerned about. We also discussed mandatory sentencing that he and Senator Cory Booker are proposing. We do not agree on executive action on the President, I agree and he does not. It was a very candid and courteous conversation. We pledged to continue to have such conversations where conservatives and progressives can have dialogue and break the log jam in American discussion.
The Republican senator met with the rabble-rousing reverend to discuss “criminal-justice reform, demilitarization of police, and the senator’s recent trip to Ferguson,” according to Senator Paul’s press secretary. Asked how the senator felt about the meeting in light of the $4.5 million in tax liens reportedly owed by Sharpton, Paul’s press secretary responded, “This meeting is another example of Senator Paul’s willingness to work across the aisle to solve our nation’s problems.”
Other recent overtures to left-leaning audiences by the senator include his appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO talk show last Friday and an interview with the publication Salon, which came out today.