By Kate Sullivan, CNN
(CNN) — The national Black Lives Matter organization on Thursday dismissed as an “imposter” an activist who identified himself as a leader of the movement in Rhode Island and declared he was backing Donald Trump for president.
“This is a publicity stunt,” Black Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter Rhode Island PAC said in a joint statement to CNN. “The right-wing continues to use and amplify fringe Black voices to create an idea of broad support for their corrupt candidates.”
Trump, in a social media post Wednesday, praised the activist, Mark Fisher, as a “great guy” and said he was “very honored to have his and BLM’s support.” Fisher said he is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island, which is separate from the Rhode Island group that condemned his Trump endorsement. Trump said he spoke to Fisher after Fisher had criticized the Democratic Party in an appearance on Fox News and said he’d be voting for the former president.
Trump’s remarks represent a sharp departure after years of disparaging Black Lives Matter and blaming it for violence across the country. He has referred to the group as a “Marxist organization” that is “discriminatory” and accused it of being a “symbol of hate.” His comments also come as the current front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination looks to make inroads with minority voters, with polling showing Black support for President Joe Biden softening, particularly among young Black men.
Black Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter Rhode Island PAC were quick to clarify that Fisher was not affiliated with their groups and that Trump does not have their support.
“Anyone can start an organization and add the words Black Lives Matter to it in an attempt to muddy the waters of our movement, as Mark Fisher tried to do,” the joint statement read. The groups also went on to say that Trump was “no friend to Black people seeking to live in a just society.”
Fisher said Tuesday in the Fox News segment, “We’re not stupid. The brothers are not stupid. We understand when someone’s for us and when someone is not. And it’s obvious that the Democratic Party is not for us.”
Black Lives Matter was founded and became a global movement after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder after fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old Black boy who had been walking in his father’s Florida neighborhood. The group says on its website that its mission is to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”
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