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Who Invited Dan Patrick To A Town Hall Meeting On Race And Policing?

If Dan Patrick won’t speak for all Texans, he should sit down.

By Comments

At "The President and the People" town hall discussion, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asks President Barack Obama about his support of police officers.
ABC News Screen Shot

Thursday night, ABC News broadcasted “President Obama and the People Town Hall: A National Conversation.” The event, which was hosted by David Muir, invited citizens from across the country to have “a national conversation about policing” and to ask the president their questions, with “no question off limits.” In attendance were police officers, families of victims of police brutality, and Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

When Patrick was given the chance to ask his question, he challenged Obama on his support of police officers:

First of all, Mr. President, as Lieutenant Governor of Texas, like you, I have some people that really like me some people that really don’t. But the police officers in Texas know without question, regardless of their political party, that they have my support and I have their back. I’m concerned that police officers across the country, they know you support law enforcement, of course. But do they really in their heart feel like you’re doing everything you can to protect their lives? Yesterday, you had meetings at the White House and afterwards you said that the tensions between police and between black Americans is only going to get worse. Words matter. Your words matter much more than mine. Everything you say matters and I would ask you to be careful, when there is an incident, of not being too quick to condemn the police without due process and until the facts are known. I know that’s not your intention, but again, words have meaning.

He also asked the president to turn blue lights on at the White House because it would “send a strong message” to police officers. It’s not clear what Patrick means by police officers “knowing in their heart” that Obama supports them (or how he even has the ability to gauge that), but he seems to believe that it means Obama should only speak in support of police officers and not discuss victims of police brutality or how racism has, does, and will continue to influence policing in the U.S.

Not only is it presumptive for a white man to try to tell a black man how and when to talk about racism, but it’s not an accurate understanding—as Obama pointed out—of Obama’s statements. “I have been unequivocal in condemning any rhetoric towards police officers,” Obama responded. “So, I think, lieutenant governor, you’d have to find any message that did not include a very strong support for law enforcement in all my utterances dating back to Ferguson.”

Even during the memorial service for the officers slain in Dallas, Obama expressed support for both law enforcement and victims of police brutality. Mourning both aren’t mutually exclusive, just as discussing police policy reform and safety are not opposing ideas. “I appreciate the sentiment,” Obama added. “I think it’s already been expressed. I’ll be happy to send it to you, in case you missed it.”

There’s also the irony of Patrick attempting to lecture Obama on how “words matter” after his own very recent comments about protesters in Dallas during the mass shooting. “All those protesters last night, they turned around and ran the other way expecting the men and women in blue to protect them,” Patrick told Fox News. “What hypocrites!”

He then went on to blame Black Lives Matter protestors for the actions of the sniper, Micah Johnson. His comments during that interview displayed a deep misunderstanding of what the Black Lives Matter campaign is about. Wanting an end to police violence is not a call for violence against police. That’s a dishonest connection to make. Patrick’s statements are even more striking compared to his restrained and limited comments about Sandra Bland, the Texas woman found hanged in a Waller County jail almost exactly a year ago.

As lieutenant governor of Texas, Patrick already has a larger platform than any of the families and activists affected by police brutality. The lives of police officers and black people matter equally, so if Patrick would use the opportunity to speak about the “heart” of police officers across the nation, he should also speak on behalf of those who have rallied around the deaths of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and Philando Castile. Patrick’s question to Obama could easily be flipped on him: how can black Texans know he supports them when he uses his platform to do such things as call them “hypocrites” for wanting to feel safe around police officers?

The town hall is already drawing criticism from some, most notably from Erica Garnerthe daughter of Eric Garner, a New York man who was killed by NYPD in 2014. Garner walked out of the town hall in protest, claiming that ABC News had misled her on how they would prioritize her questions. Instead of allowing her to speak to the president on air, Garner claims that she wasn’t given an opportunity to ask Obama about the Department of Justice’s investigation into her father’s death until after the broadcast, after she’d walked off and shouted in protest. Garner, who took the time to attend while planning an event around the two year anniversary of her father’s death, said ABC News seated her family next to the families of two officers killed days after a grand jury chose not to indict the officer who’d choked Eric Garner.

As Obama stated, conversations like this are necessary to tackle America’s racial history and what that means for policing today. We can hope that maybe Dan Patrick, in choosing to attend the town hall, is beginning to understand that as well. Hopefully in the future, he’ll use his platform to address and begin to resolve the issues of both police brutality and police safety, because the two go hand-in-hand. As Patrick himself said, “words matter,” and as a representative of Texas—no matter how you feel about it—his certainly do.

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  • Asher B. Garber

    ABC News: Trying to create discourse by inviting conflict. Watch it happen live!

  • Chuck Brooks

    yall are a bunch of idiots……

  • PFH

    Patrick made a lot of good points. Obama could have been the great healer during his first term. He turned that opportunity down. Repeatedly

    • José

      President Obama declining the opportunity to try to bridge the divide? Explain, please. With examples that include context. And for fairness please indicate which leader on the conservative side has done a much better job, and how. Would those leaders include Patrick? Thank you.

      • oledriller

        This article is so biased. They didn’t mention all of Obama’s speech. That would answer your questions. Have you read Obama’s books ? He tells you how he hates America. How he hates white people , hates capitalism, hated his white mother. Just like Democrats, the Party of Hate. They hate conservatives, they hate pro-life, Pro-gun or anyone else who does not prescribe to their di-gressive left wing Marxist Ideology.

        • Jadie Matthew

          You’re merely feeding a troll. Best to ignore them.

        • S.M.A.R.T.

          You obviously have not read any of President Obama’s books, which makes you a liar….and not very bright. The GOP is, and always has been, the party of hate….especially now with Trumpence.

          • Ukulelemike

            Really? Like that kindly, tolerant Democratic organization, the KKK? The fact the the democrats stood firmly against civil rights? Stood staunchly FOR slavery to continue? I thing you need to read some history.

          • yodacohen

            50 years ago. Equating the Democratic Party in the South with the KKK today is asinine. You think readers are THAT stupid, Troll?

          • Sacagewea

            Times have changed.

          • Frank Piez

            The Democratic members of the KKK organization switched parties and became Republicans when President Johnson, a Democrat, signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

        • José

          Look, if you and PFH don’t have the guts to back up what you say, either admit it or sit down and keep quiet. Either way we will stop calling you out. Less trouble for us, and much less embarrassing for you. Win-win.

        • Sacagewea

          He said no such thing!!! I read two of his books and he said NOTHING of the sort.

          Did you get that from talk radio?

  • dormand

    Other than having two ears, two eyes and a frontal facing nose, I am not sure that this former bar owner, who went bankrupt under his birth name of Dannie Goins, has much in common with others in Texas.

    We really need to have elected officials in Texas who have some clue as to the meanings of governance and organizational effectiveness. Those are not usual attributes of those in the bar
    business.

    With world class companies bailing out of those states that are falling off the rails due to corruption and ineptitude in governance, many will be sending site selection task forces to those states that appear to be contenders for corporate headquarters relocation.

    Meeting with top state officials is a critical part of that selection process. If our elected officials lack the decorum and governance that these task forces are accustomed to dealing with in decision making, Texas will be dropped off of the short list. The state that got GE, Massachusetts will benefit in the tens of billions of dollars over the rest of the century from its corporate decision to relocate its corporate headquarters to Boston.

  • John Lock

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fb62593f95e8c067ab4860140caa2244878ab63a34a69fa867d8da9e166ccf8b.jpg Who invited Obama to Texas to tell us about how we treat Cops and criminals. Obama is a bigot and has proved it on every Black police contact since the Harvard Professor got arrested for not helping the police ID him as the owner?

    • Weak

    • Asher B. Garber

      You do know that Obama is the President, yeah?

      I guess Presidents are only good if they’re dancing at a funeral.

      • S.M.A.R.T.

        What the heck was up with Bush? He is obviously back hitting the bottle (just like when he ‘choked on a pretzel’ and hit his head in the White House’) Sure you did.

  • macopeland1

    Patrick has every right to express his feelings for himself even if no one else agree’s or not, which is not the case because many do agree . Barry Hussein Obama the food stamp and Chief divider President who should be arrested and convicted for sympathizing with the enemy is lucky this softball treatment is all he had to face. This is the most racist Administration in the history of this country bar none.

    • JenellYB

      Patrick does have every right to express his person feelings even if no one else agrees, and representing only himself. He was there at the Town Hall to represent Texas, and Texans.

      • macopeland1

        That is exactly what he did moron.

        • Asher B. Garber

          It’s funny to read you calling someone a Moron. Do you have a dictionary?

          (That’s a big book with lots of words in it. An elitist tool, yes, but one worth owning so as to not sound like a freaking dipwad.)

          • macopeland1

            “Freaking Dipwad” Apparently you are an Ironic Oxymoron.

        • RealTexan

          No, we don’t.

          • macopeland1

            Because you are in the minute’ minority , read what i wrote again and slowly sound the words silly.

      • Sacagewea

        He didn’t represent me.

        • macopeland1

          Listen up sac you are not in the majority.

          • Sacagewea

            How would you know?

    • Sacagewea

      “Hussein” reveals your bigotry.

      • macopeland1

        It reveals his name and reveals your love for inflammatory and dangerous rhetoric.

        • Sacagewea

          Naw. You’re the one with the blowtorch. Bye bye. I’m blocking you.

          • macopeland1

            Coward, Good riddance .

    • Delor Bee

      “The most racist administration in the history of the country”? Are you sure? I’m not a history buff, but I think that the administration that voted slavery into law was a bit more racist than the current one. I’m also going to go out on a limb, but I also think that the administration that was okay with Jim Crow laws was a bit more racist. I remember, in the documentary on the Roosevelt’s, that several black men were lynched, just because Teddy Roosevelt hosted Booker T. Washington at the white house. That leads me to believe that there were quite a few racists running around…the country and government.

      • macopeland1

        Given all the weight of the history you mentioned and rightly so , there is no doubt America has had a race problem but are we a racist nation? . Why would a so called enlightened Obama wish to use the same old racist tactics that have not worked for anyone politically or otherwise. The U.S.A. is an example of a country that has bent over backwards to our own hurt to make amends, yet for some it will never be enough. Our culture today cannot be equated to the norms of yesterday unless you are willingly blinded by your own bigotry as I believe Obama is guilty of .

  • staccee

    patrick needs to go STFD, he is a racist idiot,that needs to go back to reporting sports.

    • Dwb

      Say that again ,with those hot boots on in July

  • Martin Steele

    Yep, the tone of comments as well as the provided images give proof that our nation is mired deep within a racial divide. Some seem to be proud of their own bigotry.

  • Wurty

    In Obama’s 8 year rule more police brutality has happened than in any other administration by a president. Congress is divided between party lines more than ever. Racial divide is wider than ever! And then the BLM movement raises its head. All under Obama’s watch! What hasn’t happened is another 9/11. And we have Bush to thank for that.

    • Carathustra

      I think you mistake “more happened” with “more was given national attention and not simply swept under the rug”. It’s rather heartbreaking to acknowledge that all this media attention over so many shootings is actually an improvement.

      • Wurty

        It would be an improvement if blacks really wanted to help themselves. When slavery was abolished they were given a country (Liberia).. To date it’s nothing but a corrupt one. Visit Atlanta and see the rich happy black communities! It’s incredible that Atlanta is such a haven for blacks considering they despise Whites. Just goes to show that sometimes birds of a different feather can flock together (if they tried). I am a white person born into a country where blacks hate whites. Not fair!

        • Carathustra

          I commend you: it’s not easy to write factually incorrect sentences again and again. Apparently sweeping generalizations help.

        • Asher B. Garber

          Maybe you should move to Africa?

          • Wurty

            Why? i’m white. Birds of a feather flock together. Last I knew slaves were takeb from Africa. And they were black.

        • Sacagewea

          You must have flunked American history.

          • Wurty

            I lived the last 60 year of american history.

          • Sacagewea

            Perhaps you weren’t paying attention.

    • Delor Bee

      LOL Under any president? Are you sure you want to go there? I’m only looking out for you because you seem to be forgetting all the presidents who were in office during slavery. A brutal system of racial injustice. To say nothing of the presidents in office during Jim Crow and the rise of the KKK. Most of whom drew their members from local police forces. A time where local communities thought the lynching of black men, women and children entertainment. “Sure. Bring your kids. Well have ice cold soda pop!”

      BTW, when President Obama was first elected, the republican leadership said that their #1 priority was to see that he become a one term president. Not to help the country and its citizens, but partisanship.

      • Wurty

        Wow. You are old! I was not alive during the times you describe (so thank you for looking out for me). But I remember Kennedy. I remember Johnson and I remember Ford. Their administrations were times of turmoil . It was confusing to me which anger was stronger–that against the draft or an excuse to rebel against the government. Now comes Nixon, Carter , Reagan, and Clinton. Racial tensions had never improved yet they did not explode either. Now comes Obama and he lights the fire in the bellies of the weak, the poor and the impoverished.. It’s a fire that BLM are determined to keep burning. And BLM is a directive of Obama.

        I will not look out for you after this.

  • Jadie Matthew

    This is possibly the most biased article I’ve seen from Texas Monthly. I won’t be renewing my subscription. President Obama doesn’t need more apologists in the media, he already has plenty.

    • RealTexan

      Don’t just stop reading the magazine, put your money where your mouth is, and move!

    • Sacagewea

      I doubt that TM gives a hoot whether you renew or not.

    • Arienne Dileas

      Frankly I hope you don’t stop reading Texas Monthly for what you see as bias in one article. At least you READ, and reading should always include opinions you agree with as well as opinions you don’t. More voters should read both sides so they can make informed decisions. The greatest voter problem we have in this country right now is that too many people believe what they are told to believe rather than understanding WHY they believe something. Regurgitating someone else’s ideas is not informed decision making.

  • S.M.A.R.T.

    Dan Patrick made a total fool out of himself: he made Texas look like it is filled with a bunch of halfwit morons full of hate and stupidity. The previous week, he opened his mouth, inserted both feet, and then had to apologize all over the place.

    Patrick just needs to STFU: he is not smart enough to know when to talk and when to listen. That 15 year old who lost his father really made Dan Patrick look like an immature, uneducated and clueless waste of human flesh.

    It is disgusting how Dan Patrick never passes up a chance to put his ugly mug and his hollow words on TV. And he needs to do something about that hideous hair. I don’t know who he is trying to kid, but he is a 66 year old who looks like he has been rode hard and put away wet. To dye his hair and leave white blobs over his ears is just stupid. He obviously has white hair: dying it dark brown (which fades into ugly red between dye jobs) is not kidding anyone. Makes him look like a fake and phony not-very-bright politician. Which he is.

    How embarrassing for TX to have this jerk second in line. He couldn’t wait for the governor to go to the hospital so he could go to the town hall and represent TX….but he totally shamed himself and our state. How this idiot got elected is anyone’s guess, but I can’t believe it was done legally.

    • JenellYB

      As a Texan, I’ve gotten pretty used to our Republican politicians embarrassing us so badly it is sometimes embarrassing to admit we are Texans. Who keeps voting them into office? Not me, for sure. But living in a rural se Texas district and country that always votes solidly ‘red,’ there’s a lot of people that would only vote Republican, no matter the candidate. And in primaries, the most conservative one, as well.

      • don76550

        Haven’t been embarrassed a bit ever since we swept anti American democrats out of office.

      • Arienne Dileas

        Rest assured you are not alone here. I’m in rural Texas too and feel your pain daily. Unfortunately a lot of “Bubbas” out here seem to vote Republican blindly for no other reason than it’s the way they have always voted same as their dad always voted. I’m a convert myself. I used to believe in Republican ideals but as time has gone by, conservatism has become so radicalized that I don’t recognize it as conservative any longer but as radical Evangelical and extremist. Something totally against our Constitution and the beliefs of our founding fathers… despite the claims they make to the contrary.

        When I went to the polls this primary season there were two tables flanking the voting area. Someone asked me did I want to vote in the Republican (table on the left) or Democrat (table on the right) primary. The only thing I could say was, “As a woman, I can’t see myself EVER voting Republican again” and grabbed a Democrat ballot. In many cases around this country we will never see change in the status quo until urban sprawl takes over. Unfortunately that’s a lot of sprawl in Texas.

    • rakohlin

      Incorrect. The idiot, again, was demonstrated to be BHO. He could not pass on an opportunity to lecture Mr Patrick and those that believe as he does. As has been the case in all these incidents, the President sounds like a scolding parent instead of a leader. As for you bringing up his age and looks, who is the one being “immature, uneducated and clueless”? You did not argue against anything he SAID, so who, really, is the one that “made Texas look like it is filled with a bunch of halfwit morons and full of hate and stupidity”?

      • RealTexan

        I make an effort to not bring up bring up anyone’s age, looks, or tone of voice. Without any of those considerations, Dan Patrick is still an embarrassment to many Texans, and those who aren’t embarrassed should be. From bringing in the Texas State Guard to protect us from Jade Helm to trying to block voters, to how they view minorities, out state government is causing many of us native Texans to look for something that suits us better.

        • Arienne Dileas

          Ha ha ha! I had forgotten Jade Helm and I’m just a few miles from one of the bases. I have to say I was appalled that our state officials bought into this fear. One would like to think that the leaders are at least smart enough to know reality. Do you think maybe they were just playing up the fear factor for political reasons? Sadly, that DOES work here.

    • don76550

      What a misleading handle, SMART. How about DUMB,

    • Sacagewea

      Shoe polish . . .

  • mackduckett

    Briefly, Texas Monthly: YOU SUCK!!!

  • planojoe

    Well said. Thanks for speaking up for those of who are not represented by his self-serving grandstanding. A lot of us are not represented by the current TX leadership.

  • Remember, Texas.

    These Elections where no one shows up to the polls, results in Dan Patrick getting to hold a microphone.

    • Dwb

      Funny

  • Robert Karma

    President Obama has performed well under the circumstances he has faced as the first African-American POTUS. It will be the same for the first woman, the first Jew, the first Hispanic, the first Muslim, the first atheist, etc., to be President. Every action or inaction will be judged under the polarized light of that label. The only President that has experienced something like this before was Kennedy as a Roman Catholic. When all of the other Presidents did something controversial, the American people didn’t judge all white men as a result. Their actions were seen outside of race because they were of the majority race in the country. Minorities carry the burden of representing their minority in the eyes of the white majority. I look forward to the day we can evolve past such petty prejudices to judge our leaders based on their actions alone. Until then, we will have to struggle through these tumultuous times to the best of our ability. In that regard, Dan Patrick represents the past that has failed us. His type of partisan approach has worked well to divide people in order to get elected but has failed spectacularly in being able to govern in a functional manner. This Presidential election is a referendum about either moving forward as a nation or giving into our fears and bigotry and pretending to return to a time past that never existed except in myth.

    • houstonmama

      Well said @robertkarma:disqus

      • Robert Karma

        Thank you Ma’am.

  • Walker62

    Patrick made his point. Obama provided his counter point. At the end, I saw them shake hands. No screaming and big derogatory discourse. For that, I only need to look at some of the raging fools on this comment stream.

  • Joel Sandlin

    This is 2016. A white man has just as much right as any man to talk about the current state of race relations. I’m sick and tired of white liberal apologists who want to tell white people to not have a voice.

    • José

      Patrick has every right to talk. And we have the right to point out that his comments are stupid, hypocritical, insensitive, disrespectful, inaccurate, and unhelpful.
      Patrick has every right to voice his personal opinion. But when he speaks publicly as an officer of the great State of Texas he has a responsibility to represent all Texans, blacks and browns as well as whites, civilians as well as law enforcement and military, Muslims and Jews and Hindus and atheists as well as Christians. Liberals and moderates as well as right wing conservatives.

      • S.M.A.R.T.

        Patrick shamed the state of TX, AS USUAL. Why doesn’t he learn to just STFU instead of saying sh*t and then having to take it back. He needs a checkup from the neckup. Alzheimers maybe?

    • Delor Bee

      Sorry, but no. Black Lives Matter is open to ANYONE and EVERYONE. Can’t say that about the KKK.

  • Peggs Macalpin

    once again he proves the only good texican is a dead texacin

  • Caroline Schlenker

    First, PLEASE if we are to become a Country rid of racial divide, everyone QUIT the race card. Second: we do not have the FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT, Mr. Obama is bi-racial, remember he had a WHITE mother. So let us QUIT calling him BLACK. Mr. Obama is a MULATTO. Now that we are over that, then let us continue, Mr. Obama is a DEMOCRAT. WE are basically a two party system, Republican and Democrat. Personally I can not tell the difference these days. And I surely do not want to continue describing and being hung up on the terminology that Our President is White, Black, Brown, Yellow,… Male or Female. We all want our protectors – law enforcement, politicians, clergy, to be looking out for ALL OF OUR RIGHTS as stated in the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble and Bill of RIGHTS of OUR CONSTITUTION.

    Keep it simple, we are not all created equal, some of us are short and plump, some tall and thin. But we all bleed red and put our pants on one leg at a time. And as always some will want to prove otherwise.

  • Dwb

    Patrick was out of place ,especially after insulting our President .

  • Manuel Labor

    Every time I see Dan Patrick, I’m reminded of Amanda Arnold. Is there something I can take for that? LSD is so temporary.

  • don76550

    Well Doyin, Patrick certainly speaks for me, whereas left wing looney tunes like you definately do not.

  • Sacagewea

    Patrick continually embarrasses.

  • Sacagewea

    All lives matter in America, but some lives matter more. The lives of white, heterosexual, Protestant males matter the most.

  • Antonio Aguilar

    The bias and racism in this article is outstanding. President Obama has shown a constant bigotry against police and anyone, regardless of their race, has a right and in fact a duty, to call out bigotry wherever they see it.

  • Jimmy Hoffa

    i appreciate that Patrick attempted to clue Obama in as to how he is creating more division within the nation. Obama has lectured us for almost 8 years now on how bad white people are, remember the beer summit? Patrick was respectful but truthful. Suggesting Obama keep his mouth shut until all the facts are in regarding these incidents was wise counsel. Obama has no problem giving counsel; let’s see if he is smart enough to take a little counsel. One last point, talking about the victims of alleged police brutality at the memorial service for the murdered policemen in Dallas was extremely inappropriate. His comments about the fallen officers in Baton Rouge while short and insincere, were much better then the Dallas diatribe. Maybe Obama can learn a little about leadership before he vacates the oval office. For our sake, I hope he can. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long deadly summer for the men and women in blue.

    • José

      Yes I recall the Beer Summit. What exactly did Mr. Obama say that offends you, the part about “how bad white people are”? Not what Rush or Hannity or Patrick implied that he said, but what were Obama’s exact words, in context of course. Do you believe that white folks should never be criticized by blacks, even when it is clear that they did something improper? How charmingly traditional.

      • Jimmy Hoffa

        before any investigation mr. obama spoke out critical of the officer. he has done that several times since. have you not noticed?

        • José

          I see. A black man entering his own private home, and able to prove his identity, is nonetheless arrested. But that’s not the problem as you see it. Instead, it’s that the President commented: “separate and apart from this incident…there’s a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately”. OK. First, is this what you mean by Obama saying that white people are bad? Second, regardless of whether it was appropriate for him to say that, do you think that the statement is incorrect? And third, the President soon thereafter expressed his regret for speaking impulsively. So is this one incident more than seven years ago what you mean by “lectured us for almost 8 years now”?

  • Wilson James

    I am continually telling folks I know from other states that despite the incredibly poor leadership and tragi-comic characters like Danny Goeb and Abbott, Perry, Gohmert, Barton, McCaul, DeLay, Cruz, Strickland and other we are pretty decent folks. We need to vote out these fools and lead the nation instead of setting it back.