On Monday, Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones (D) thanked President Donald Trump for defending law and order and condemned the “hypocritical” Black Lives Matter movement, insisting that all black lives should matter, including the people killed in the riots following the horrific police killing of George Floyd.
“Most people, including black people, they want law enforcement to be out there enforcing the law. I think people just want them to be, they want them to be fair,” Jones said at a White House meeting with Trump.
He mentioned the tragic death of Secoriea Turner, an 8-year-old girl shot dead in Atlanta as her mother attempted to park near the Arby’s where Rayshard Brooks had been shot by police.
“We lost a baby girl, too, in Atlanta, 8 years old, and it wasn’t to a police officer. More people have died from the protests of Black Lives Matter than prior to that,” Jones insisted. Indeed, at least 22 people have died in the George Floyd riots.
“And so, sometimes it’s hypocritical,” the Georgia Democrat continued. “It’s almost as if some black lives matter, but all black lives should matter, and all lives should matter. So I thank you, Mr. President, for what you’re doing and I stand in solidarity with you.”
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) July 13, 2020
Rioters, looters, and vandals have lashed out after George Floyd’s death, acting on the false premise that America is defined by “systemic racism.” This mindset arguably traces back to The New York Times‘ “1619 Project,” which argues that America’s true founding came in 1619 with the arrival of the first black slaves, rather than in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, the entire American experiment is shot-through with racism.
When vandals toppled a statue of George Washington in Portland, they spray-painted “1619” on the statue. When Claremont’s Charles Kesler wrote in The New York Post, “Call them the 1619 riots,” the project’s founder, Nikole Hannah-Jones, responded (in a since-deleted tweet) that “it would be an honor” to claim responsibility for the destructive riots and the defamation of American Founding Fathers like George Washington.
In a November 9, 1995 op-ed, the 1619 Project founder condemned Christopher Columbus as “no different” from Adolf Hitler and demonized the “white race” as the true “savages” and “bloodsuckers.” She went on to describe “white America’s dream” as “colored America’s nightmare.” Just this week, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) expressed a similar sentiment when she called for the “dismantling” of America’s “economy and political system,” in order to root out supposed racist oppression.
Yet the “1619 riots” have destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 21 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black. Retired police chief David Dorn was killed by looters breaking into his pawnshop in St. Louis. Chris Beaty was shot while helping two women who were being mugged in Indianapolis. Antonio Mays Jr., a 16-year-old boy, was shot and killed outside the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) in Seattle. Secoriea Taylor — the 8-year-old girl Vernon Jones mentioned — was fatally shot as her mother attempted to park a car near a group of protesters close to the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks had been killed by police.
Family members of these victims have condemned the hypocrisy of the Black Lives Matter movement. “We’re protesting for months, for weeks, saying, ‘Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter.’ Black lives matter it seems like, only when a police officer shoots a black person,” lamented John Ayala, whose grandson was shot and killed on the Fourth of July. “What about all the black-on-black crime that’s happening in the community?”
When black actor Terry Crews asked why Black Lives Matter doesn’t discuss black-on-black gun violence, CNN’s Don Lemon insisted that dead black children are “not what Black Lives Matter is about.”
It is vitally important for bereaved grandfathers like Ayala, black actors like Terry Crews, and black Democrats like Vernon Jones to call out the hypocrisy of the Black Lives Matter movement. American society appears to be embracing the “1619 Project” narrative wholesale while ignoring the dangers — and deaths — of the 1619 riots.
Vernon Jones is right: “It’s almost as if some black lives matter, but all black lives should matter, and all lives should matter.”
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.