Tuesday Trump condemned the Black Lives Matter movement for “dividing America,” blasting the group and its rhetoric as “divisive.” Trump also attacked President Barack Obama for being “the great divider” responsible for worsening racial relations in America.
“We have a divider as a president,” he said. “He is the great divider and I have said it for a long time. And it’s probably not been much worse at any time.”
When asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, Trump was equally damning.
“First of all, I think the term is very divisive,” he said. “The first time I heard it, I said ‘you have to be kidding. They can’t use that, they just can’t.’ I think it’s a very, very, very divisive term.”
Pressed on whether he thought the group itself was helping or hurting America, Trump added, “I would say they are dividing America.”
“I saw what they said about the police in various marches and rallies,” he said. “I have seen, you know, moments of silence called for this horrible human being who shot the [Dallas] policemen. … it’s very divisive and I think they are hurting themselves.”
Trump denunciation of the BLM comes as CNN reports he has declined an invitation by the NAACP to speak at its annual convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, next week.
“[T]he explanation given was that [the Republicans] are holding their convention at the same time,” NAACP’s Cornell William Brooks tells CNN. “We are, of course, in Cincinnati, they are in Cleveland. We were hoping he would make the short trip from Cleveland to Cincinnati.”
“I will simply say this: the NAACP, representing millions of Americans, we represent an occasion for those running for president to speak to the nation’s most critical issues at a critical hour in this country,” he adds.
“You can’t run for president and not talk about police misconduct and police brutality. You can’t run for president and not talk about this country’s civil rights agenda, so this is an important moment and our convention really will be an opportunity for anyone running for president to provide a window into not only their policies, but into their heart and character as a candidate.”
Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has said she will speak at the conference, Brooks said.