In the Wake of Philly Confrontation with #BlackLivesMatter Protesters, Clintons Head to Black Churches for Redemption
After the condescending remarks he made during his confrontation with Black Lives Matter protesters in Philadelphia last week, former President Bill Clinton has emerged without a scratch.
Black support continued to flow for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over the weekend, as she and her husband did not skip a beat on Sunday, traveling to half a dozen New York-area Black churches and a campaign stop in Baltimore, as the Washington Post reported. In the process, the former secretary of state gained three endorsements — Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.).
“This is a historic day,” said Rangel as he introduced Bill Clinton at Antioch Baptist Church in Harlem. “What makes it so important is that we have a chance to thank the Clinton family.”
Rangel reminded the congregation that he pushed the former president to make Harlem an economic empowerment zone to bring in funding for economic development, according to “The Post.”
Last Thursday, during the infamous confrontation, Black activists interrupted a speech the former president was giving in support of his wife’s candidacy. They faulted Hillary Clinton for her 1996 “super-predator” remarks — in which she spoke of crime committed by youth of color — and denounced the ex-president for the mass incarceration brought on by his 1994 crime bill. The former commander-in-chief became defensive and justified his policies in the process.
“You are defending the people who killed the lives you say matter,” the former President told the activists, accusing them of supporting drug gangs who murdered people. “I’ll tell you another story about a place where Black lives matter: Africa,” the former president told the crowd, arguing that Hillary Clinton was responsible for increasing the supply of AIDS drugs in Africa during her tenure as secretary of state.
Following the awkward encounter with Black Lives Matter protesters, the former president gave a half-hearted apology, if he did not stop short of issuing one, saying he “almost” wanted to apologize for his remarks.
“We see all these rallies interrupted by people that are angry. Now I like and believe in protests. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t ’cause I engaged in some when I was a kid, but I never thought I should drown anyone else out,” Clinton said on Friday while campaigning for his wife in Erie, Pa., according to CNN.
“And I confess maybe it’s just a sign of old age but it bothers me now when that happens. So I did something yesterday in Philadelphia I almost want to apologize for, but I want to use it as an example of the danger threatening our country,” President Clinton added. “I know those young people yesterday were just trying to get good television, and they did, but that doesn’t mean I was most effective in answering it.”
Meanwhile, the criticism of President Clinton’s remarks continued.
bill clinton’s facebook page cover photo has me rotfl
“Africa: the photo op” pic.twitter.com/QsWtegmERz
— Wendi Muse (@MuseWendi) April 10, 2016
At a town hall event in Harlem on Saturday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders said that President Clinton owes the nation an apology for defending his wife’s statement, as “RealClearPolitics” reported.
QUESTION: Let’s start with the term: “Super-predators.” Earlier this week, Bill Clinton made some very disturbing comments, trying to defend Sec. Clinton’s now-infamous super-predators comment to disparage the #BlackLivesMatter activists. What are your thoughts about what he said?
BERNIE SANDERS: Unacceptable. I think we all know what that term meant.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes.
BERNIE SANDERS: In the context that it was said. We know who they were talking about.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Right, black people.
BERNIE SANDERS: That’s exactly right, that’s who it was. And I think the president owes the American people an apology for trying to defend what is indefensible.
And Black voices continue to criticize Bill Clinton for his remarks. For example, “New York Times” columnist Charles M. Blow took to Twitter to express his disapproval of the former president, and posted a video on Facebook:
Bill Clinton, you had better thank your lucky stars that I won’t have a column this Monday. Fate saved you…
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) April 8, 2016
Bill Clinton v Black Lives Matter Protesters
Posted by Charles M. Blow on Saturday, April 9, 2016
In addition, Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” posted a response to Bill Clinton’s “almost apology” on Facebook. “Thank you, Bill, for giving the nation a ten-minute tutorial on everything that was wrong (and apparently remains wrong) with the ‘New Democrats’ and their approach to racial politics,” Alexander wrote, adding that to win the White House, he made a racist appeal to white swing voters by invoking Black crime: