Rev. Al Sharpton called out President Donald Trump on Friday during his eulogy at Aretha Franklin’s funeral, providing one of the biggest reactions of an epic memorial service in Detroit that is still going on after more than five hours.
Sharpton, one of many notable attendees for the event that included musicians, politicians, religious figures and Hollywood A-listers, used his time at the microphone to recall Trump’s original statement after Franklin’s death August 16 at age 76. Trump noted that Franklin “worked for me on numerous occasions,” which cause a backlash online.
“You know the other Sunday on my show [MSNBC’s Politics Nation], I misspelled ‘respect,’ and a lot of y’all corrected me,” Sharpton said from the podium Friday. “Now I want y’all to help me correct President Trump to teach him what it means.”
The line brought the majority of attendees at Greater Grace Temple to their feet for whoops and long applause, more than almost any moment during a service that saw plenty of ovations for the many performances and speakers.
“And I say that because when word went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said, ‘She used to work for me.’ No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us. Aretha never took orders from nobody but God.”
Trump, who did not attend Friday’s service (Barack Obama and George W. Bush sent letters that were read onstage), said to pool reporters the day Franklin died that “I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well. She worked for me on numerous occasions,” he said.
“She was terrific — Aretha Franklin — on her passing. She brought joy to millions of lives and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come. She was given a great gift from God — her voice, and she used it well. People loved Aretha. She was a special woman. So just want to pass on my warmest best wishes and sympathies to her family.”