Sharpton: Sanders no different than Clinton on ’94 crime bill
© Getty Images

Al Sharpton says Democratic presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Study finds Pfizer vaccine almost 91 percent effective for 5 to 11 year olds The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Manchin, Sanders in budget feud; Biden still upbeat Democratic frustration with Sinema rises MORE is no different than rival Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonI voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary Meghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' MORE on a controversial 1994 crime bill signed by her husband, Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBill Clinton shares video update after release from hospital Biden, Democrats risk everything unless they follow the Clinton pivot (they won't) Giuliani picks Abe Lincoln filter for attack against McAuliffe MORE, when he was president.

“There was no division in 1994,” Sharpton said on MSNBC’s “The Place for Politics 2016." "We are looking at a distinction without a difference.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I want to be clear: There was no difference in 1994 [between Hillary] Clinton and Sanders in support of that bill. He was in Congress and voted for it, and she supported it as first lady.”

Critics say the crime law, which took effect under President Bill Clinton, harmed minority communities by raising mandatory minimum sentences. They've also blasted Hillary Clinton at the time for using the term "super predator" in reference to young people in the '90s.

Sharpton's comments come after former President Clinton fiercely defended the law during a heated confrontation with Black Lives Matter protesters at a rally last week.

Sanders criticized the former president Saturday, arguing his defense was “unacceptable."

“I think that the president owes the American people an apology for trying to defend the indefensible,” he said at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y.

Sharpton on Monday said that Bill Clinton’s crime bill ultimately harmed African-Americans and other minorities.

“Yes, there were some good aspects of it,” he said. "[But] we just felt that the bad outweighed the good. It led to more mass incarceration.”

Sanders voted in favor of the crime bill in 1994, citing support for measures addressing violence against women and restricting assault weapons availability.

The Clintons have defended aspects of the law, but say it should be changed to deal with the problem of mass incarceration. 

- This story was updated at 12:51 p.m.