Rev. Al Sharpton joined NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday as a panelist to discuss the late Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy.

Sharpton took the opportunity to talk about some of the obstacles Mandela faced and his impact on U.S. politics.

“I think that it is a betrayal of history to act as though as Nelson Mandela evolved, the world embraced it. There was a real battle in this country,” Sharpton said. “I think that for us now to sugarcoat that is a betrayal of history.”

Sharpton went on to discuss some of the events during President Ronald Reagan’s tenure that led to the tumultuous relationship America had with South Africa and more specifically, with Mandela, at the time.

He discussed that the U.S. government and policy had not always been an ally of Mandela or the African National Congress.

“We chose sides,” Sharpton went on to say. “We chose the wrong side. People in this country turned us around toward the right side. That set the stage for Mandela to evolve.”

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