Donald Trump’s Speech Treats “Black Lives Matter” Like A Dirty Word

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Perhaps we should have expected this — but it doesn't make it any less jarring. During the speech that closing out the Republican National Convention Thursday night, Donald Trump not only ignored Black Lives Matter, but erased the civil rights group from the Dallas narrative entirely. As Trump describes it, the situation in Dallas was one in which police officers were shot and killed... and that was the whole story. Of course, that's an important part of what happened earlier this month in Dallas, but it excludes the part in which Black Lives Matter protesters peacefully condemned the two deaths of black men at the hands of police.

Hmm. To recap: In early July, two black men were shot and killed by police officers within 48 hours. A peaceful protest was held in Dallas. By all accounts, the police officers working the protest stood in solidarity with the protesters. Suddenly, an individual began firing at a group of officers, ultimately killing five of them and injuring nine more.

To be clear, there was no connection between Black Lives Matter and the deaths of the officers; the peaceful organization immediately distanced itself from the lone wolf-esque attack. Regardless, the civil rights group and the deaths of those two men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, were an essential part of the narrative — a horrifying look at the potential consequences of poor gun control, a flawed criminal justice system, and implicit racial bias, among other factors.

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

By ignoring the essentials of what happened in Dallas that week, Trump is adjusting the story to fit his purpose, which is to incite fear.

Of course, his retelling of the story is incorrect, like much of what Trump says, but that won't stop it from influencing the legions of Americans watching Trump's speech and believing his version to be the full story.