On Wednesday night, former Florida governor and current GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush found himself the target of Black Lives Matter activists who disrupted a town hall event at the Pearson Community Center in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Bush, reports said, had met privately with activists prior to the event, but it appears that meeting did not prevent the demonstration.
The disruption happened after Bush responded to a question about racial injustice. According to the Las Vegas Sun, it was the last question of the event.
“I wanted to ask you about racial injustice, racial inequalities, institutional racism,” said Jamie Hall. “Are you going to be talking to different police departments about training reform? You talk about creating a better education system, but if kids in the neighborhoods are seeing their fathers and brothers and cousins killed, why would they want to go to school and excel?”
“We have serious problems, and these problems have gotten worse in the last few years,” Bush said. “Communities, people no longer trust the basic institutions in our society that they need to trust to create, to make things work.”
“There is racism in America, no one should deny that,” he added. He promised to work toward creating a climate of civility and said education is a key part of the solution.
“A child that is educated, that believes that there are chances of going to college and living a life of purpose and meaning is important,” he told Hall. About 20 activists stood up and began chanting “Black Lives Matter” as he quickly left the auditorium. Others countered with chants of “white lives matter” or “all lives matter.”
Hall, reports said, felt Bush’s answer was “vague” and didn’t address current racial issues. “He talked about how education is important, but that’s in the future. What about today?” she said. “People are dying in the streets.”
The Clinton campaign, reeling from scandal over a private email server used by the former Secretary of State, issued a statement criticizing the town hall event. “It is ironic that Jeb Bush chose to host a town hall at an early vote polling place as he shut down similar locations in Florida,” the campaign statement said. “As governor, Jeb Bush signed into law legislation limiting early voting hours and eliminating sites like Pearson as early vote sites because they did not meet overly restrictive location requirements.”
Bush, reports said, is the first GOP candidate disrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters. Activists with the movement recently took over a rally for Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist running against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party primary. Media mogul Donald Trump called Sanders “weak” for giving his event over to the protesters and issued a warning that no rally of his would be taken without a fight.