Presidential contender and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush met with activists representing the Black Lives Matter movement before attending a scheduled campaign rally in Nevada on Wednesday. However, that did not stop members of the activist group from interrupting the event later that day.
The campaign event at the Pearson Community Center in North Las Vegas ended abruptly once chants of “Black lives matter” began in the audience. The chanting began after Bush took a question regarding racial disparities in the criminal justice system. According to CNN, Bush replied that “these problems have gotten worse in the last few years” and that communities “no longer trust the basic institutions in our society that they need to trust.”
As he left the event, some attendees shouted, “Black lives matter” while others shouted, “White lives matter” or “all lives matter.” According to the Los Angeles Times, a female protester and a female Bush supporter both had their middle fingers extended in each other’s faces while standing just a few feet from the candidate.
In recent weeks, several political events have been interrupted by Black Lives Matter activists. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders had a rally disrupted by the activists and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton met with representatives of the group on Tuesday. Earlier Wednesday, representatives of the group told reporters about their plans for the event.
The community center where the event was held is in a predominantly Black community and is run by the Urban League. Bush normally lingers for awhile after campaign events so he can pose for photos and answer follow up questions, but on Wednesday, he shook hands and wrapped up more quickly than usual. Two weeks ago, Bush addressed the Urban League’s national convention in Florida and received a different reception.
Bush spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger commented, “As Governor Bush laid out in his speech to the Urban League, he is committed to campaigning across the nation as he seeks the presidency, talking to everyone and every community about his vision for restoring opportunity for all Americans.” She continued, “Gov. Bush listened to the group and they discussed barriers to upward mobility in this country, and ways to overcome them as a community by starting to get a few things right in government.”