Black social justice activists in the U.S. shouldn’t bother phoning Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, because he’d likely just forward the call to voicemail. The New Jersey governor said this week that he has no interest in meeting with members of the Black Lives Matter movement to discuss issues of police brutality and criminal justice reform.
Christie previously accused Black Lives Matter, the 2-year-old social justice movement that sparked nationwide protests against law enforcement's treatment of black people and other unjust policies, of calling for the murder of police officers. As he polled in the lower half among a dozen GOP candidates, the two-term governor spoke out against the movement as part of his appeal to political conservatives.
“I want the Black Lives Matter people to understand: Don’t call me for a meeting,” Christie said Wednesday during a campaign event in the primary state of Iowa. According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, he added: "I think all lives matter.”
In recent months, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have taken meetings with activists in the movement. Last month, President Barack Obama defended Black Lives Matter by saying it was “real” and “not making this stuff up” about police brutality and unfair treatment by the U.S. criminal justice system.
“No candidate for president, like Hillary Clinton, should give them any credibility by meeting with them, as she’s done,” Christie said in response to an Iowa town hall questioner who asked how he would support law enforcement.
During Tuesday's Republican presidential primary debate on the Fox Business News channel, Christie said leaders not fully supporting police officers is what concerns him about the Democrats, according to a Real Clear Politics report.
"I'll tell you the thing that disturbs me the most what's going on with the Democratic Party in Washington," Christie said during a forum of lower-polling candidates. "They're not standing behind our police officers in this country. They're allowing lawlessness to reign in this country."
In a CBS “Face the Nation” interview Oct. 25, the New Jersey governor criticized Obama for his defense of Black Lives Matter. “Listen, I don’t believe that that movement should be justified at all when they’re calling for the murder of police officers, no,” Christie said, according to a report by the Blaze. “That’s what the movement is creating and the president of the United States is justifying that. And not only that, he hasn’t backed up police officers from the minute he’s gotten into office. We can cite instance after instance.”