Cornel West: 'We need a national atmosphere of the spirit of Jimmy Carter' instead of Donald Trump
Cornel West speaks to CNN (screen grab)

Philosopher and activist Cornel West slammed Donald Trump on Thursday for his attacks on immigrants, and said that the country would be better served by an "atmosphere of the spirit of Jimmy Carter."

"Juxtapose Jimmy Carter with our dear brother Donald Trump," West told CNN's John Berman. "A lot of authenticity with Donald Trump -- I love it -- [but he has] no real integrity, no real sensitivity to Mexican brothers and sisters and others."

"We need a national atmosphere of the spirit of Jimmy Carter that says, 'I could be wrong but I'm concerned about the least of these,'" he continued. "We've got to insure that the most powerful are rendered accountable. Jimmy Carter had the courage to do that even in the Middle East. Escalating anti-Semitism in the world, but also a very ugly Israel occupation. How do you walk that tightrope? We don't have leaders like that."

West pointed out that Trump's "mother is from Scotland, his grandfather is from Germany."

"My people have been here 400 years," West said. "He just got here but he wants to define who ought to get here. Wait a minute, where's the sensitivity to the weak and vulnerable?"

"He recognizes the game was rigged in terms of the 30 years he participated as a donor, but if he loves his country, well, for 30 years you participated in the rigging of the game," the philosopher remarked. "Where is the integrity? That's what Jimmy Carter is about."

West also encouraged the Black Lives Matter movement to stay focused on peacefully organizing for civil rights.

"Black Lives Matter is just a moment in the black freedom struggle," he observed. "The black freedom struggle is about what? Sustained catastrophe and responding to that catastrophe with sustained compassion and courage. That's what we need."

"But if revenge and hatred become center then just bring down the curtain on the American experiment as a whole."

Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast Aug. 20, 2015.