Vice President Mike Pence said that he doesn’t want to say “Black Lives Matter” because he believes it is part of a “radical left” progressive agenda that would defund the police and tear down historical monuments.
As CBS News reports, the vice president was pressed on Face the Nation to explain on Sunday why he won’t say the words “black lives matter.”
Host John Dickerson told that protesters would like to hear their leaders say the words “black lives matter,” but noted that Pence won’t use the language.
Pence went on to explain that he believes the movement against police brutality and in support of Black Americans is being dominated by a political agenda that he disagrees with. He explained that he had always been inspired by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and praised the progress the country has made toward equality.
“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 tear down monuments, that would press a radical left agenda and support calls for the kind of violence that has beset the very communities that they say that they’re advocating for,” he said.
The vice president’s comments were immediately met with criticism.
“You aren’t actually pro-life if you can’t say black lives matter,” said independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin.
“VP Mike Pence *refused* to say Black Lives Matter in an interview with John Dickerson this morning. Instead, he said, ‘All Lives Matter.’ That’s exactly what a white supremacist would say. If you can’t say Black Lives Matter, you don’t think they matter,” noted one person.
Adam Parkhomenko wrote that Pence had invited Candace Owens to the White House. Owens is a political commentator who has been critical of George Floyd and people protesting against police brutality after his death.
Pence told Dickerson during the interview that what Americans want is to provide additional funding to the police with the addition of more training and support. This, he says, will improve the lives of African Americans across the country.
Pence then pivoted to talk about the value of the lives of unborn fetuses, saying that all lives include unborn lives. He added that what he is hearing from Black leaders around the country and in Washington D.C. is that people want law and order and peace in the streets of America.
“I really believe that all lives matter,” Pence said.
Not everyone on social media was critical of Pence’s comments. Newsweek writer Seth Abramson said that he thought it was more important that people discuss the steps that the Trump administration has been taking to strip the right to vote from Black voters.