Dan Patrick will join President Obama’s televised town hall on race
AUSTIN - Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will take part in President Obama’s televised town hall Thursday night to talk about race relations.
The event comes after Patrick got national attention and criticism for sharp comments blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for the slaying of five Dallas officers.
Patrick’s office said he was invited to appear in “The President & the People: A National Conversation,” a one-hour special that will air at 7 p.m. Central time on ABC and ESPN.
Obama at a memorial service for the Dallas officers on Tuesday condemned the slaying of officers doing their job of protecting society, while also mourning the deaths of black men in police shootings that have drawn widespread protests. He urged Americans to open their hearts to each other.
ABC said the Washington town hall will be moderated by “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir, joined by ESPN’s Jemele Hill.
“It will focus on candid discussions on race relations, justice, policing and equality by the members of the community,” according to ABC News.
The Dallas officers were shot by a sniper last week at the end of a peaceful demonstration over the police shooting deaths of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. The sniper, who was killed following failed police negotiations, said he was upset about those shootings and that he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers, according to the Dallas police chief.
Last Friday, the day after the shootings, Patrick on Fox News blamed the “Black Lives Matter” movement and suggested Dallas protestors were “hypocrites” for running from the sniper and expecting police to protect them.
Asked about the “hypocrites” remark in a subsequent CNN interview - also last Friday -- Patrick said, “Maybe it’s the wrong choice of a word. I’ve seen a lot of death in the last 12 hours.”
Asked what Obama hopes to accomplish with the town hall, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, “I think the President is hopeful that those kinds of interactions will both illuminate a variety of perspectives for the American people to see. I also think he’s hopeful that it will illustrate what can happen when people open up their hearts to a different perspective.
“He’s certainly going to try to do that when he’s talking to people in the audience,” Earnest said, “and I’m confident that people in the audience will do that as he speaks, as well. And I think that will be not just an opportunity that could be illuminating in terms of different ideals or perspectives or potential solutions, I also think it’s a pretty effective way to model the kind of conversations that the President believes should be happening all across the country.”