Charles Barkley: Criticism of Donald Trump has been 'disingenuous'

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Story highlights

  • Charles Barkley says some criticism directed at Donald Trump has been disingenuous.
  • Ex-NBA star has said things in locker room he wouldn't want made public
  • Barkley won't vote Trump
  • But also finds it difficult to justify voting for Hillary Clinton

(CNN)Donald Trump may not be able to count on the vote of Charles Barkley in the forthcoming US presidential election, but the former NBA star appears to have a modicum of sympathy over how controversial sexual remarks by the Republican candidate have been portrayed.

A videotape of Trump boasting to former NBC host Billy Bush in 2005 of how being famous meant he could "do anything" to women, including "grab them by the pussy," emerged prior to the second presidential debate earlier this month.
    Yet while making clear he would never vote for Trump, Barkley also says he feels the way some people have acted like they have never heard such talk before is "disingenuous."
    "I'm against any form of sexual assault or sexual harassment," Barkley told CNN Tuesday. "But in the locker room, I've heard things and I've said things myself that I would not want to be repeated publicly.
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    "For people to act like they haven't heard stuff in the locker room, I think is disingenuous."

    'Pulling the trigger for Hillary'

    Trump has plummeted in the polls since the tape was first published by the Washington Post, and a slew of new claims surrounding the billionaire's sexual conduct have since emerged.
    Although Trump has offered strong denials as the allegations have mounted, Barkley feels the fact that the sexual behavior of one of the candidates is even an issue is in keeping with a dismal campaign.
    "It's very frustrating to me," Barkley said of the state of debate. "I'm disappointed for the American people."
    Under normal circumstances, the 53-year-old former Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets power forward says he would cast his vote for the Democrats.
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    Yet Barkley, who also won gold with the US "Dream Team" at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, remains unsure as to whether he will be able to bring himself to vote at all.
    "I've always voted Democratic my entire life but I'm having a hard time pulling the trigger for (Hillary Clinton). She might be a wonderful person, I don't know, but there's so many negatives about her.
    "Right now I haven't made a decision if I'm going to vote or not. But if I vote, I'm gonna vote Democratic but it's ... just something about her that makes me uncomfortable. Clearly I can't vote for the other guy (Trump)."

    'Trump is divisive'

    When asked what it is about Trump that makes him feel that way, Barkley says: "I think that he has been divisive, very divisive.
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    "I live in Arizona. I think the Hispanic people are amazing. I think when people talk about illegal immigration ... it does them a disservice.
    "That's my biggest problem, talking about building a wall. I think the Hispanics are amazing people living in Arizona, they get a bad rap. But I think, I always want to be inclusive.
    "He talks about the Muslim, to label all Muslims with a blanket, I think is disrespectful. Clearly, some of them are not good people ... so every ethnic group has got some fools. But to label all Muslims the same with a blanket as terrorists, I think that's disrespectful."
    Barkley now works as basketball an analyst for TNT and has frequently spoken out on the state of politics in recent years.
    He told the Dan Patrick Show in 2015 that he favored Ohio's Republican governor John Kasich for president but that "neither one of the parties is doing anything for poor people. They're both full of it. Black people have been voting Democratic their whole life, and they're still poor. And the Republicans don't do anything for poor people either."
    Earlier this year, he reportedly told journalists at an NCAA media day that "all politics is rich people screwing poor people" and that "poor people are too stupid to know they're just chess pieces in a game."