Rush Limbaugh called Black Lives Matter a “terrorist group” Friday after gunman Micah Xavier Johnson killed five police officers in Dallas the night before at a rally organized by the activist movement.
“They’re a terrorist group,” Mr. Limbaugh said during Friday’s edition of his nationally-syndicated radio show. “They’re quickly becoming a terrorist group committing hate crimes.
Black Lives Matter had been holding a protest widely described as peaceful Thursday evening when shots rang out around 9 p.m. in downtown Dallas. Five police officer were pronounced dead and seven others injured by the time Mr. Limbaugh discussed the events during his radio show the following afternoon, at which point he implicated the protesters in the ambush and accused President Obama of lending their movement legitimacy.
“I found a story from March, I think, of 2015, in which President Obama welcomed two founders of Black Lives Matter to the White House and commemorated them and their efforts and praised them as being better organizers than he is,” Mr. Limbaugh said.
“Black Lives Matter was exactly who they are then as who they are today: They’re a terrorist group,” Mr. Limbaugh added.
While Mr. Obama did indeed invite Black Lives Matter activists to the White House, the president and protest movement both instantly disavowed the Thursday night ambush attributed to Micah Johnson, a 25-year-old Army veteran who reportedly told police that the assault was motivated in part by a couple of officer-involved shootings earlier in the week in which black men were killed by police officers.
“He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters during the stand-off Thursday evening.
Johnson had also told police that he was “upset about Black Lives Matter,” but authorities did not immediately explain the comment further. The activist group has since disavowed the attack, and issued a statement soon after distancing themselves from the gunman. Reports have since linked Johnson to black militant groups not directly affiliated with BLM, including the Nation of Islam, the Black Riders Liberation Party, the New Black Panther Party and the African American Defense League.
“Yesterday’s attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible,” Black Lives Matter said in a statement Friday.
Black Lives Matter was launched following the 2013 shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, and has grown in the wake of similar incidents in years since that have routinely seen African American men lose their lives as a result of altercations with authorities.
“This is a devastating time for us as activists and organizers. We cannot about bring justice through violence,” Dallas BLM organizer Jeff Hood, a pastor, told ABC News in the wake of Thursday’s mass slaying.
“Black Lives Matter doesn’t condone shooting law enforcement. But I have to be honest: I understand why it was done,” added Sir Maejor, a BLM organizer on hand at a Friday night rally in Atlanta. “I don’t encourage it, I don’t condone it, I don’t justify it. But I understand it.”
According to Mr. Limbaugh, however, one group of Americans are allegedly set to see something positive come from the shootings: Democrats.
“We have a political party that’s seeking to benefit from all of this. A political party, the Democrats, are seeking to advance their agenda with every one of these unfortunate incidents. And if that is the case, it isn’t going to stop,” he said during Friday’s broadcast.