WATCH: Black Lives Matter Disrupts Jeb Bush Rally In Nevada - His Supporters Chant 'White Lives Matter'
Wednesday afternoon, a broad coalition in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement disrupted a Jeb Bush town hall in Las Vegas with chants of "Black lives matter". These chants were met with pushback from the largely white and Republican crowd who countered with cries of "all lives matter" and the even more problematic "white lives matter".
Earlier, two #BlackLivesMatter demonstrators had been kicked out for starting a similar chant. Bush's PR team said that he had met with "advocates" of the "Black Lives Matter" movement earlier in the day and had discussed criminal justice reform and "barriers to upward mobility". It's unclear if these "advocates" were the same ones who would ultimately disrupt his town hall.
Eventually, things settled down and the former Florida governor fielded questions from some of the protestors. According to the LA Times:
Bush, responding to a woman's query about the disproportionate number of minorities killed by police and their treatment in the criminal justice system, said there was no question that racism still existed in the United States and that leaders needed to engage in communities that felt disenfranchised.
Like a good corporate-friendly candidate, Bush insisted the solution to black poverty and racism was more charter schools:
He then turned to his education record as Florida's governor, saying that achievement scores among minority youths rose during his tenure. “I have a record of empowering people in communities that” were told “they had no chance,”
Unlike other disruptive actions of late, this group seemed a bit broader in scope. A Netroots posting on the protest described the group as being composed of "Planned Parenthood, teachers, undocumented people, immigrants, children, women, men, the trans community, and some from the white community."
Bush told several of his supporters later in the evening that he found the protest action "disrespectful".
UPDATE: As I suspected, it appears Bush's claim that he had "met with Black Lives Matter advocates earlier in the day" is pretty much bogus.
Here's what the LA Times wrote:
Bush's campaign said the candidate met with Black Lives Matter advocates earlier in the day and discussed criminal justice reform and barriers to upward mobility.
But several twitter users associated with the action are casting doubt on the implication Bush met with "Black Lives Matter". Laura Martin of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada accused a member Bush's PR team of "lying". Tweeting out:
@aebrandenburger why are you lying about meeting with Black Lives Matter?
In reference to a statement Bush put out about "meeting with Black Lives Matter Advocates", Ms. Martin tweeted:
Meeting w/ Black people =\= meeting with #BlackLivesMatter
Another activist Angie Sullivan added:
He did NOT meet with #BlackLivesMatter activists - he met with some black electeds #bigdifference
While the line is not always clear in broad movements of who qualifies as a "member", it's obvious Mr. Bush meant to imply in his statement that he had met with groups which were expressly associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, and not, as it turns out, vaguely sympathetic black politicians.
You can watch the Q & A below:
And the disruption here: