Jun 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Mike Pence explains why he refuses to say "Black lives matter"

Vice President Mike Pence told CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he won't say the words "Black lives matter" because he believes the leadership of the BLM movement is pushing a "radical-left agenda."

Why it matters: 67% of the American public say they support the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of mass protests over George Floyd's killing, with 38% of U.S. adults saying they strongly support it, according to Pew. Yet the words "Black lives matter" have remained politically sensitive for many Republicans, who instead choose to use the phrase "all lives matter."

The exchange:

JOHN DICKERSON: "One thing protestors would like to hear is leaders say 'Black lives matter.' You won't say that. Why?"
PENCE: "All my life, I've been inspired by the example of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When I was in Congress, I traveled to his home church in Montgomery with Congressman John Lewis. I walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. I cherish the progress that we have made toward a more perfect union for African Americans throughout our history. And I've aspired throughout my career to be a part of that ongoing work. It's really a heart issue for me. And as a pro-life American, I also believe that all life matters, born and unborn. But what I see in the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement is a political agenda of the radical left that would defund the police, that would--"
DICKERSON: "Leave that out of it. Just the phrase."
PENCE: "--tear down monuments, that would press a radical left agenda that, and support calls for the kind of violence that has beset the very communities that they say that they're advocating for. ..."
DICKERSON: "So you won't say Black lives matter?"
PENCE: "John, I really believe that all lives matter. And that's where the heart of the American people lies."

Go deeper: Mitt Romney joins Black Lives Matter march in D.C.

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