Jeb Bush Just Not Sure Charleston Shooting Was Racially Motivated

Although Dylann Storm Roof is very sure about what his motivations were for killing nine black people this past Wednesday at a Charleston, South Carolina church–particularly given that he said he was there to kill black people and also told police that he was trying to start a race war.

But Jeb Bush? Juuuuuuuuust not sure. He doesn’t know. There could be many reasons why he might have killed those people, other than the reason he explicitly stated.

When asked about whether he thought the attack was racially motivated, Bush told a Huffington Post reporter, “It was a horrific act and I don’t know what the background of it is, but it was an act of hatred.”

When pressed again about whether race motivated the attacks, Bush said, “I don’t know. Looks like to me it was, but we’ll find out all the information. It’s clear it was an act of raw hatred, for sure. Nine people lost their lives, and they were African-American. You can judge what it is.”

The question came after a speech Bush made at a Faith and Freedom Coalition summit in Washington.

“I don’t know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes,” Bush said in his remarks. “But I do know what was in the heart of the victims.”

Later, a Bush spokesman said that “of course” Bush understands that the attacks were racially motivated. And I’m sure he does, because even he isn’t that stupid. However, I think he was avoiding saying it for a reason. I believe that reason was that he didn’t want to offend the racists who might vote for him.

However–I gotta know. What the hell is it that is so incredibly hard about admitting that a terrible racist did a terrible thing? Is it that they just want to pretend that no one is racist and that therefore it is impossible for someone to do anything terrible and racist? Are they protecting their own? Because that is sure as hell what it’s coming across as. Are they afraid that black people will get angry and come after them? Do they think that refusing to acknowledge the fact that racism exists will make them less angry somehow, when terrible racists do terrible things? Are they afraid that if they acknowledge racism in one instance then they’d have to acknowledge that it exists otherwise?

I don’t know. I really, really don’t know. What sort of proof do people like Jeb Bush need to believe that racism exists and is a problem? I’d say “Do people have to die while someone loudly announces their hatred for black people?” but apparently that, still, is not quite enough.

[Talking Points Memo]