Black Lives Matter groups are meeting with Democratic presidential campaigns after members disrupted several events to get out their message but apparently have eschewed such a strategy with Republican candidates, which is OK with GOP contender Ben Carson.
Carson told Fox News on Thursday he doesn’t agree with the groups' apparent strategy of forcing a meeting or their agenda upon 2016 candidates, by either disrupting or threatening to disrupt a campaign-related event.
“Of course not,” said Carson, who is black. “I would like them to start paying attention to the carnage rather than making it a political issue. The most common cause of death for young black males in cities is homicide.”
Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon and social conservative, also argued that black males killing each other is as large an issue as Black Lives Matter activists’ major concerns of criminal justice-reform and blacks dying while in contact with police.
The campaigns of 2016 Democratic White House candidates Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders each confirmed earlier this week that their officials met with leaders of the loosely-knit Black Lives Matter movement.
But the specifics of the meetings, including whether the sides have reached any agreement to avoid further disruptions, remain unclear because the group will not allow the details to be made public.
Last week, a group of protesters claiming to be affiliated with Black Lives Matter ended a Sanders' event before it even started, snatching the 73-year-old’s microphone so they could talk about criminal justice reform, then pushing him away when he tried to take it back.
On Tuesday, newly-hired Sanders' National Press Secretary Symone Sanders, who is black, confirmed that Black Lives Matter leaders had been in contact with the campaign but said only that Team Sanders was “looking forward to continuing the dialogue with them and getting their input on various issues."
That was not the first time the group had disrupted an event with Sanders, Vermont Independent.
In July, Sanders and O’Malley, a former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor, were essentially heckled off stage at the annual Netroots Nation convention.
O'Malley said before departing that "Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter," which prompted boos and him later issuing an apology to those who found his remark “insensitive.”
The O’Malley campaign confirmed on Wednesday with FoxNews.com that the sides had met.
A campaign spokeswoman said the discussions focused on criminal justice reform and that group members argued for why such changes “need to be a priority.”
However, the spokeswoman said that the ground-rules of the meeting prevented her from discussing specific and pointed to O’Malley's speech in late July to the Urban League in which he talked about improving and reforming the criminal justice system.
The Black Lives Matter movement purportedly started after the 2012 death of black teen Trayvon Martin and has made the recent deaths of black males in contact with police a rallying point for change.
It also met this week with leading Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, after announcing on social media that it would disrupt an event Tuesday in New Hampshire.
Group members were reportedly ushered into a side room and accepted an offer after the event to meet with Clinton.
The Clinton campaign declined to comment, and members of the Black Lives Matter group in Boston involved in the meeting would not discuss with reporters the details of the event.
However, Daunasia Yancey, one of the Boston group’s organizers, told Politico afterward that she didn’t hear Clinton talk about her part in “perpetuating white supremacist violence,” only her “reflection on failed policy.”
And the group tweeted: “We've gotten the attention of @HillaryClinton's staff & they are working w us.”
Black Lives Matter did not respond to requests for comment.
The group apparently has not reached out to Republican candidates including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul who has been a leading voice in Washington, even before declaring his candidacy, to ending mandatory minimum federal sentencing.
Critics argue such sentencing, particular with drug possession charges, is unfair and has resulted in the skyrocketing costs of running prisons.
Paul spokesman Sergio Gor declined to comment this week on whether the campaign had been contacted or if the candidate was even interested in talking with Black Lives Matter about the future of his campaign.
The group last week disrupted a campaign event for GOP candidate Jeb Bush in Nevada.
Carson, a first-time candidate, on Thursday also reiterated what he told reporters in New York City on Wednesday including that “We need to be talking about how we solve the problem in the black community of murder.”
He also said the solution is to re-instill such values as “family and faith” that have helped black Americans through slavery, segregation and the Jim Crow era.
“If you abandon those things, this is what we get,” he said, arguing the problems are in large part the result of the police and members of the black community being mutually fearful of each other.
Fox News’ Hillary Vaughn contributed to this report.