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Charles Barkley trashes CNN campaign coverage and Donald Trump on TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA’

Former NBA Player Charles Barkley attends NBA All-Star Weekend on Feb. 15, 2014 in New Orleans.

Former NBA Player Charles Barkley attends NBA All-Star Weekend on Feb. 15, 2014 in New Orleans.

(Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

Turner Sports commentator and former NBA star Charles Barkley blasted sister company CNN’s 2016 presidential election campaign coverage and Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

“To be honest with you, CNN has done an awful job in this election, an awful job,” he said during TNT’s “Inside the NBA” program on Thursday. “They have followed ratings and sound bites this entire cycle. I love CNN. They are part of our company. But they have been kissing butt, chasing ratings -- they’ve become like Fox News for the Republicans. They follow every single sound bite just to get ratings for these debates. It is sad and frustrating that our company has sold its soul for ratings.”

A CNN spokeswoman said the cable network has no comment on Barkley’s remarks.

CNN had its largest audience ever with its coverage of the Republican primary debate on Sept. 16, as 22.9 million viewers tuned in to watch Trump and his rivals. The cable network has the next GOP showdown in Las Vegas on Dec. 15.

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Barkley launched into the CNN criticism after being asked by studio host Ernie Johnson to explain the success of Trump, whom Barkley harshly criticized as well. The former NBA star, who said he has always voted Democratic, described Trump’s remarks about Mexican immigrants and Muslims as “insulting” and “sad.”

“To try to divide and conquer, which is what the Republicans always do, it’s just sad,” he said. “You’ve got these losers who love that because they are afraid to look in the mirror and say why their lives suck. So they have to blame other people. Your life sucks for a reason -- because of you, not because of Hispanics. Do we have to do something about the extremists? Of course we do. but it’s been sad to watch every time he insults people and his poll numbers go up.”

Barkley has talked about running for political office in the past. He currently supports Ohio Gov. John Kasich in his bid for the Republican nomination but “he has not been able to get any traction whatsoever, so to be honest I have no idea who I’m going to vote for.”

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

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