President Barack Obama strongly defended the controversial Black Lives Matter movement at Thursday’s “arm chair discussion” held at the White House, which included about 25 mayors and police chiefs.
He claimed that the group has legitimate concerns, such as the targeting of blacks by local police, and said that their claim of routine police brutality is a “legitimate issue that we’ve got to address,” according to The Hill.
“The African-American community is not just making this up,” Obama said, during a forum on criminal justice reform hosted by The Marshall Project. “It is real, and there is a history behind it and we have to take it seriously.”
The movement became controversial for holding demonstrations in which its members chanted inflammatory phrases, such as “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want them? Now!” and “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon!”
Obama ignored that many believe these activities stir up anti-police sentiment, saying instead that the movement’s true purpose is to raise awareness of problems beleaguering the black community.
“I think everybody understands ‘all lives matter,’ ” the president said. “Everybody wants strong, effective law enforcement, everybody wants their kids to be safe when they’re walking to school, nobody wants to see police officers, who are doing their job fairly, hurt.”
The group has also been criticized for loudly interrupting speeches and town hall meetings, thereby putting the brakes on political discussion.
The White House tweeted:
“We as a society, particularly given our history, have to take this seriously.” —@POTUS on #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/yC1T1q9GYm
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 22, 2015
The public wasn’t quite so sure about the president’s sentiments, however, and took to social media.
@USATODAY @POTUS Obama has thrown all Whites and Cops under the Bus for this #BlackLivesMatter Thug Terrorist Group! — Meow (@GOPCatLady) October 23, 2015
@USATODAY @POTUS So President Obama is defending a group that calls for the killing of police officers?
— Patrick (@Patrick1392) October 23, 2015
@USATODAY @POTUS Such hypocrites.If black lives really matter go to Chicago and save them. Baltimore? More deaths by far. — Bravodicus (@Bravodicus1) October 23, 2015
@CBSNews Way to take sides with a #Racist Group ! #AllLivesMatter
— Bone Michaels (@BoneFM) October 23, 2015
@thehill What a racist imbecile! Obama is the great divider.. Incompetence at its finest. Rev Wright is so proud of his pupil! — Rico (@VoiceOfRico) October 22, 2015
@thehill @BarackObama @WhiteHouse YOU Mr. President are a coward a liar and a traitor. ALL lives matter, or NONE do. pic.twitter.com/2Li1UP8XCd
— HB3 (@HB3third) October 22, 2015
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