On Friday, former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh went on CNN to defend a controversial tweet declaring “war” on President Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Walsh sent out the incendiary tweet Thursday night in response to the killing of five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest. The tweet, which read “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you,” has since been deleted.
Walsh, however, is not backing down from the sentiments he expressed. In an interview Friday night with CNN’s Don Lemon, Walsh said that he “absolutely” stands by his tweet, and that he is “pissed off” about the “war on our cops.”
“The last couple of years, Barack Obama has done nothing but hate on cops. Accusing cops of being bad and racist,” Walsh told Lemon.
Following the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of law enforcement earlier this week, Obama argued that police brutality has an outsized impact on communities of color. Studies have shown that black unarmed men are almost three and half times more likely to be shot by police than white unarmed men.
“When people say ‘black lives matter,’ it doesn’t mean that blue lives don’t matter,” Obama said in a statement Thursday. “But right now, the data shows that black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents. There is a particular burden that is being placed on a group of our fellow citizens.”
Walsh accused Obama of “telling people on the streets that police officers are racist.”
“When people on the street hear the President of the United States time after time say that there is racism in police departments all over the country, man, that kind of hating leads to what you got in Dallas,” Walsh told Lemon.
Walsh also told Lemon that while he thinks that there is “racism all over America,” he does not “believe that police departments are racist” or that there is “systemic racism.”
“To say there is systemic racism, Don, means that most cops around the country are racist, or that most police departments are racist,” Walsh said.
Systemic racism, in reality, is used to refer to historical and structural preferences, embedded in our society, which allow certain privileges to white people while denying those privileges to people of color.
Walsh is far from the first conservative politician to blame violence against police on the Black Lives Matter movement and Obama. Conservative politicians have seized onto the concept of a “war on police” in recent months, arguing that the Black Lives Matter movement has emboldened violence against police officers. Police fatalities, however, have actually been steadily declining in recent years.
The Black Lives Matter movement immediately condemned the violence in Dallas, stating that the movement “advocates dignity, justice and freedom. Not murder.”