Jeb Bush’s campaign lies about meeting with Black Lives Matter activists

Earlier in the week, Black Lives Matter began to make good on their promise that every major presidential candidate — not just Bernie Sanders — would be pushed on their failure to adequately address racial justice issues when they disrupted Jeb Bush in Nevada, causing him to cut the event short.

Bush’s campaign said that the candidate had met with members of the Black Lives Matter before the event started. As it turns out, that statement wasn’t even close to being true.

From the Huffington Post:

There was a meeting, but no activists from the Black Lives Matter movement participated. Instead, Bush met with a local elected official, a GOP lobbyist and a staffer from an anti-poverty organization.

Kevin Hooks, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Urban League, told HuffPost he set up the meeting at the Bush campaign’s behest. His organization focuses on providing job opportunities for low-income residents. Hooks said that while he respects Bush for reaching out, he would not characterize the people at the meeting as Black Lives Matter activists. “It’s a little disingenuous,” he said.

Disingenuous is a word. False is a better one. Hooks told the Huffington Post that not only did the meeting not include Black Lives Matter activists, but that said activists had turned down a request for a meeting. Knowingly rebuffed, the campaign said they went ahead and met with them anyway. The actual meeting was decidedly more establishment:

There were three people at the table with Bush. Hooks confirmed that a member of his staff was one of them. North Las Vegas Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Goynes-Brown was the second, and she said the third attendee was Sean Fellows, a registered lobbyist for a communications firm who once ran as a Republican candidate for state assembly.

Just because you sat down with a person who happens to be black doesn’t mean you met with representatives of a social movement with a specific set of grievances and demands. Sitting at the same table as a black person doesn’t mean you have a great relationship with “the blacks.”

It’s confusing as to why the campaign would so blatantly lie about something so easily verifiable. Why not just say that you requested a meeting and were denied? You score the same amount of points — which is to say none, because your record on race is still horrendous and you’re still going to get protested because you deserve it — without the unforced error the comes with getting called out over dishonest political spin.

Then again, it’s been a week of unforced errors for Bush. Remind me again why we think he’s the moderate, smart one?


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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23 Responses to “Jeb Bush’s campaign lies about meeting with Black Lives Matter activists”

  1. nicho says:

    News flash: A member of the Bush Crime Family lies. In other breaking news, water flows downhill, compasses point to magnetic north, the sun rises in the east.

  2. Indigo says:

    Upon further reflection, I’m not clear on what any Republican would have to say without lies.

  3. gratuitous says:

    For some reason, probably my darned cynical nature, I can’t help thinking that during the entire Las Vegas meeting, Jeb! was wondering, “Why do these waiters keep talking to me, and why aren’t they getting me my water?”

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  5. hidflect says:

    “It’s confusing as to why the campaign would so blatantly lie about something so easily verifiable.”

    Maybe because Jeb genuinely believes that if he’s met with a black person then he’s addressed the Black issue. To him they’re all one and the same. One large, amorphous blob of “them” just like the ones he’s seen on TV in shows like COPS and The Wire. To him, acknowledging the existence of his black chauffeur probably checks his box on “improving race relations”.

  6. Indigo says:

    It looks like there’s two factions, maybe more. It’s not unusual for progressive groups to splinter in activists, sympathizers, and grand-standers.

  7. Indigo says:

    Lovely reward for Best Costume.

  8. 2karmanot says:

    OMGawd….what progress! To break the usual CC creamed chicken and blanc pomme de terres entree we will have diversity day and have us some chitlins, greens and sweet potato pie. That’s also costume day Tara style. Come on down ya’ll. #snark Snit

  9. 2karmanot says:

    This is so typical of Republican thinking. While Presnit Reagan thought That if one saw one tree then you’ve seen them all. Apparently Dumbya II thinks that if you’ve talked to one Black American you……well, you know…’They’ are a colossal singularity. It absolutely astounds me that any Black American would consider for a nano-second voting for a Republican, let alone for another addled brain Bush. #Amazing

  10. ComradeRutherford says:

    I admire nonhierarchical organizations, but in cases like these there is no ‘official’ representative to deny the lies of Bush III.

  11. emjayay says:

    OK, Bush lies and stumbles every day. But are the BLM people only interested in disrupting things and getting their faces on the news and not discussing issues in an appropriate circumstance? Are some of the disrupters Tea Party wackos like I keep reading, only interested in the thrill and exerting control and wrecking events and getting on the news? I actually don’t know.

  12. Naja pallida says:

    In case anyone thinks it’s just a meme.

  13. Naja pallida says:

    That’s the problem with a real grassroots organization. Since there’s no central organization, no one to protect the ‘brand’, political operatives with purely selfish motives can easily co-opt the message. With this, Jeb! has proven that not only is he stupid and ignorant on the issue, he doesn’t even care enough to try and learn. Thus, will never be a President to represent the majority of the country. He’s a lost cause, trapped in a bubble, carefully protected from anything resembling reality.

  14. Bill_Perdue says:

    Or the fifth for a Clinton.

  15. UncleBucky says:

    Jebya would be the FOURTH TERM for a BUSH.

  16. ComradeRutherford says:

    What. BLM is a self-identified movement. Those folks that Bush met with only had to setup a facebook group declaring themselves to be BLM, and voila! Instant BLM representation.

  17. Butch1 says:

    Ouch! Let’s see how they back peddle from this one.

  18. Hue-Man says:

    Idle No More: “A grassroots movement for indigenous sovereignty, indigenous rights and respect for the treaties. Goals include stopping environmental degradation and economic and social inequality.” (wiki)

    Sound familiar?

    “Justin Trudeau promises $2.6B for First Nations education” http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-liberal-justin-trudeau-first-nations-1.3189872

    Unfamiliar election promise. Canada’s aboriginal population is about 1.4 million (4.3% of population). I know $$ doesn’t solve all problems but when aboriginal children are living in 3rd world conditions receiving substandard education with poor graduation results, it’s better than being totally ignored, which is what Harper has done for nearly a decade.

    Why this matters in Canada but African-American votes don’t in the U.S.? Spoiler alert – GOP gerrymandering.

    “The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations says aboriginal voters could make the difference between a majority and minority government in the next federal election.” http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/06/14/afn-identifies-51-swing-r_n_7581002.html

  19. BeccaM says:

    The dingleberry sure never does fall far from the Bush…

  20. Doug105 says:

    How do you get gun control bills out of the republican party and the nra?

  21. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Wow… it’s no small thing, either. The Washington Post story looks bad for the BLM folks — it looks like Bush met with them yet they still disrupted his speech anyway. What jerks, huh? But if he didn’t meet them, the narrative is entirely different.

    Representatives of the group — who had alerted reporters earlier Wednesday about their plans — didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

    Maybe next time they respond a little more quickly?

  22. Bill_Perdue says:

    BLM is not the answer.

    ‘To whom are #BlackLivesMatter’s leaders accountable, and just where are they taking their “movement”? Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign marketed itself as “the movement” too.

    Why doesn’t the #BlackLivesMatter movement, supposedly focused upon the unique needs of people of color, have any critique of the black political class, almost all Democrats, who have been key stakeholders in the building of the prison state, in gentrification and school privatization from New Orleans to Detroit and beyond, and who helped peddle the subprime mortgages to black families which exploded and cut black family wealth by nine-tenths? Have they even noticed that a black president has closed and privatized more public schools than any other in US history? For all the big words they use, do they ever mention the word “capitalism”?

    There are ominous signs. Last month folks whom Alicia Garza described as “part of our team” disrupted two minor white male candidates at NetRootsNation, the annual networking event for paid and wannabe paid Democratic party activists, embarrassing them with demands over structural racism and “say her name”. If they were positioning themselves for careers inside the far-flung Democratic party apparatus, it was a smart move, because Hillary wasn’t there. Hence they got noticed in that crowd of Democrat operatives without antagonizing the people with the real money and connections.

    When Hard Knock Radio’s Davey D interviewed Garza on July 21, just before the Cleveland #BlackLivesMatter conference, Garza dropped several more indications that seem to point toward an eventual affiliation with Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.” http://www.blackagendareport.com/wheres-the-blacklivesmatter-critique-of-black-political-class

  23. Indigo says:

    Oops! Wrong country club.

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