Swalwell Calls on GOP To Say 'Black Lives Matter', Gaetz Agrees, Adding 'All Lives Matter'


Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida took up Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell’s challenge to say “black lives matter” on Wednesday, but added that “all lives matter.”

The exchange came during a House Judiciary Committee hearing regarding proposed police reform legislation in response to the death of George Floyd.

At the hearing, Swalwell quoted Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, saying, “Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean your life isn’t important. It means that black lives, which are seen as without value within white supremacy, are important to your liberation.”

“When black people get free everybody gets free.”

“Black lives matter, period,” Swalwell said after quoting Garza.

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“So I would yield to any of my colleagues on the Republican side who can unequivocally say as we calibrate where we are right now that black lives matter,” the congressman continued.

“Does the gentleman believe that all lives matter, as well?” Gaetz asked in response. “I think black lives matter. I think all lives matter.”

“Can anyone on the Republican side say, unequivocally, black lives matter?” Swalwell shot back.

Do you think Gaetz made a good point that all lives matter?

“Unequivocally, all lives matter. Why is that a problem to acknowledge?” Gaetz retorted.

Swalwell did not answer, but commented, “I think it’s clear that my colleagues on the other side would like to put up a strawman to not have the uncomfortable conversation that we need to have about race.”

The Californian then argued the problem is systemic racism in the United States, which is manifest through police actions.

“Typically in police shootings, most of the focus is on the conduct of the officer, and we never get to the harder part about the systemic issues we have in our country,” Swalwell said.

“Nobody is disputing that what the officer did here with Mr. Floyd should be defended, so we have the have the harder conversation about systemic issues and policing,” he added.

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Conservative commentator Brandon Tatum, who served as a police officer in Tucson, Arizona, disputes the notion that the United States is systemically racist.

“I think that a lot of what people are accusing the country of, whether systemic racism and oppression, I believe personally it’s more in the mind than it is in real-life application,” Tatum told The Western Journal.

“There are so many institutions and situations where it proves that this country isn’t racist that it’s almost impossible to point to a certain area where you could say, ‘OK, this is blatant racism that goes on in America that can be perceived as being systemic,’” he added.

Tatum argued that the U.S. is actually “anti-racist” based on the current state of the law.

“I think that the word ‘systemic racism’ is something that has been created because people need to perpetuate division and when they cannot find enough actual evidentiary situations, they come up with a term like ‘systemic’ because there is no way to verify it and no way to fix it,” he said.

Tatum added that fewer African-Americans have been shot since President Donald Trump took office than under former President Barack Obama.

A Washington Post database tracking fatal police shootings since 2015 shows that year-by-year numbers of African-Americans have not increased since Trump took office.

Swalwell began to close out his remarks on Wednesday, reiterating, “Black lives matter. I’m sad to say no one on the other side will say it.”

Texas Republican Rep. Louis Gohmert then interjected, “Black lives do matter, unequivocally.”

“Every life is precious, God-given and black lives matter, unequivocally. Every life is important,” he said.

Swalwell thanked him.

Gaetz later tweeted a video clip of his back-and-forth with Swalwell, writing, “All life is precious. All lives matter.”

Gaetz also responded to a tweet by actor/director Terry Kinney, who had called the congressman a racist tool.

“The Hollywood Woke Left wants you to think it is *racist* to claim that All Lives Matter,” Gaetz wrote. “What is happening to America?”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith