During a campaign stop in Iowa on Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz, who is one of many candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination, told ThinkProgress that Black Lives Matter is “embracing and celebrating the murder of police officers.”
“If you look at the Black Lives Matter movement, one of the most disturbing things is, more than one of their protests have embraced rabid rhetoric, rabid anti-police language, literally suggesting and embracing and celebrating the murder of police officers,” Cruz said. “That is disgraceful.”
The Texas senator denounced what he called the “vilification of law enforcement” under President Barack Obama’s administration, using the death of Harris County, Texas, Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth in August as an example. Goforth was shot and killed at a Houston gas station.
“When people say black lives matter, absolutely black lives matter, and the consequence of President Obama’s and the attorney general’s vilification of law enforcement is, many more black lives have been lost. We are seeing in inner cities across this country crimes spiking because police officers are afraid to do their jobs because they get targeted, they get attacked, they get vilified for protecting us,” Cruz said.
Black Lives Matter leaders DeRay Mckesson and Johnetta “Netta” Elzie responded to Cruz’s criticisms.
“Cruz aims to perpetuate lies about a movement focused on ending violence in order to garner attention,” Mckesson countered in an email to ThinkProgress. “This desperate statement is another reminder that he is unfit to be the President of the United States.”
“It’s amazing to me that black people and their allies affirming that Black Lives Matter is somehow celebrating murder,” Elzie added. “Nothing about us affirming our own lives has anything to do with ‘embracing and celebrating the murder of police officers.’”
Read more at ThinkProgress.