Jeb Bush: ‘I Don’t Know’ if Racism Played a Part in South Carolina Shooting

jeb-bush-7Since the horrific church shooting that left nine African-Americans dead in South Carolina Wednesday night, I’ve done my best to avoid adding any sort of “political” angle to the entire ordeal. Naturally I assumed this tragedy would become politicized by the media (as the media almost always does with situations such as these), but I had tried to avoid reading or watching anything that was trying to turn this into something political.


Then I came across comments Jeb Bush made during a Faith and Freedom Coalition conference which prompted me to write a response.

“I don’t know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes,” Bush said at the conference.

Seriously? He doesn’t know what was “on the mind or the heart” of a white male who walked into a black church and apparently said, “You rape our women, and you’re taking over the country. And you have to go” – then proceeded to kill nine people? Jeb “doesn’t know” what might have caused that?

Are you out of your damn mind? Is this how stupid the Republican party has become?

This shooting was about racism and hate – and that’s it.

Here, I’ll answer those two “issues” for Jeb: What was on his mind? Racism and hate. What was in his heart? Racism and hate. 

End of story.

Oh, but it’s okay, because a spokesman for Bush addressed the controversy later in the day, saying that Bush obviously believes race was a motivating factor. Oh, by the way, this spokesman did this on Twitter. You know, where there wasn’t a group of very right-wing voters to which the Republican presidential candidate was pandering for support.

It is amazing, in the aftermath of what was easily one of the most blatantly racially motivated acts of violence we’ve seen in our country in quite some time, so many Republicans I’ve seen make statements about this attack appear hesitant to use the “R-word”: Racism.


There’s no middle ground here. This isn’t an event that needs a national debate over what “the motivations” of this domestic terrorist could have been. This is as clear-cut and indisputable as you get. The fact that so many Republicans seem to be grasping at straws to find something – anything – other than racism to blame for this massacre is deplorable, pathetic and an absolute joke. And it’s even worse than so many of them are either hesitant or simply flat-out refuse to say publicly that this attack was racially motivated.

While I’ll be one of the first people to call out “the left” when they try to claim racism on issues where there’s really no proof that racism played any part, this damn sure isn’t one of those instances.

This was a racially motivated domestic terrorist attack perpetrated by a vile, bottom-feeding animal who slaughtered nine innocent African-Americans for no other reason than the color of their skin.

The fact that so many members of the GOP seem hesitant to publicly acknowledge this pretty much confirms what we’ve known for a while – racism comprises a large part of the voter constituency to which they must pander, and they care more about pandering for votes than anything else.



Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Creeayshun Sighuntist

    I really don’t know why republicans are always in such a hurry to defend racists, or at least attempt to minimize their actions. I have to assume that they feel responsible for the senseless murders and terrorists they’ve created, so they just continue to bury their heads in the sand and hope it blows over quickly. Hopefully America will finally wise up to their pandering to these terrorists through the propaganda of Fox and right wing radio and take them off of the air.

    • OMGface

      You don’t know why? Simple (also terrifying); the current incarnation of the GOP mostly comprises silly putty humans who are just fine with sacrificing everything worth anything to cater to their knuckle dragging base. Talk about ignoble and repulsive.

    • Renee Walker

      MHP today on the Melissa Harris Perry show shed light on your astute question about the tendency toward systematic denial about the endemic nature of racism. She showed a clip of the judge assigned to the Root case who said…”that the Root family are victims too”. This is just not true. While we are one human family, in cases of domestic violence it is essential for the entire family of the accused to own how their behavior influenced the violent act and how their behavior influenced the person who committed it.

    • OMGface

      Why? CAUSE THEY ARE RACISTS! Is WHY. RIDDLED with every form of bigotry there is. and the target is moot, the underlying sickness is the same and always the issue.

  • OMGface

    Crazy terrifying. This human is silly putty Faust and, like his brother W., has the IQ of a fungus gnat. Character truly is destiny..

    • curmudgeon VN Veteran

      Amazing how stupid so many Harvard graduates are isn’t it?

      • OMGface

        Well, members of this clan gain entry via not the usual ways. I did my undergrad work at an Ivy League University, and pls know correlation never implies causation. but nothing on a CV can tell us who a given individual actually is and that is a fact.

    • GimmeSomeTruth

      Your comment is an insult to the fungus gnats…

      • OMGface

        LOL! I stand enlightened!!! How about dust mites?

  • Steve Temke

    Republicans must absolutely HATE when something like this happens because they’ve spent every year of the Obama presidency claiming that they’re not racists, they just disagree with his policies, all the while giving a *wink, wink* *nudge, nudge* to their base. This killer IS their base and they can’t denounce him without pissing off the rest of them. They’re between a rock and hard place of their own making.

    • Johnny E

      I’m a moderate Republican, who almost refuses to identify as one because of the extremism that’s hijacked the party. I think your post is a generalization that has no truth behind it. This nazi terrorist isn’t part of my world, part of my belief system, or part of any aspect of my life. Denouncing him is easy, just as it would be easy to denounce a family member of mine if I found out he was a child molester.

      Remember, it’s possible Bush didn’t know the facts when he made his comment, and his comment wasn’t “I don’t know if he’s racist”, it was “i don’t know what was in his heart”. This article could be a huge stretch designed to stir up outrage. No, I don’t care for Bush at all, I think he’s an idiot, but he may not have known the facts at the time of that comment.

      • nancy reagan

        Sorry, Johnny,
        “Ye shall be known by the company you keep.”
        Hang with the KKK much? How about child molesters?
        Oh, you avoid those groups, but identify as a Republican?
        Republicans are comparable to the KKK and to national vandals – they coddle racism, and hold back America on gender rights, reasonable gun laws, fouling the environment, and their pimping religion with their distain for our secular democracy.
        You associate with the vandals of the GOP by your own choice – because you are ignorant, stupid, or just plain evil.
        The base of today’s Republican Party holds some of the most stupid, mean, belligerent and insane people in our nation.

      • Johnny E

        Haha, do you realize what a hate filled, bitter, narrow minded, judgmental bigot you sound like? You think you know the first thing about me based on my very loose political affiliation? I’m living a great life, I run a very successful business, I pay all my employees well above market rate, and not 1 employee under $15 per hour. I am a guy that does the right thing even when it’s not convenient to do so. I’m very easy to get along with as well. But you think you can judge me based off something that is borderline irrelevant, which is politics. Hate filled extremists are the problem in this country, and nowhere near the solution.

      • poppaDavid

        Have you considered becoming an Independent? It doesn’t sound like the Republican Party has toleration for your ideals.

      • Jillz

        Obviously there are many Republican voters like you, Johnny E, who aren’t hate-filled, violent people. Unfortunately though, your party has been taken over by a group of radical extremists who are promoting hate/bigotry and violence in your country.

        By continuing to support the Republican Party, you are helping to keep the radicals in power and giving them too loud a voice. YOU, yourself, might not be the typical person in the base they are pandering to, but you are still part of the base if you are supporting these politicians.

      • curmudgeon VN Veteran

        McConnell and Boehner? You are as looney as they come.

      • Jillz

        Riiiiiiight. Can you kindly point out to me where I mentioned McConnell, Boehner or any other GOTPer by name? You’re the one seeing something that isn’t there and you’re calling ME looney??

        Not that I think you are capable of having a reasonable discussion, but the radical extremists are the tea party and the fake “Christian” right. I’m actually starting to feel an eensy weensy bit sorry for Boehner and McConnell – lol – they created a monster, and now it’s biting them in the butt hahaha

        By the way, consensual sex between adults does not make someone a pedophile or child molester. Those terms are reserved for those who sexually touch children. So I can’t really take you seriously after you label Bill Clinton as a pedophile. I’d watch Mike Huckabee though, if I were you – he keeps company with some shady, child molesting type of people!

      • curmudgeon VN Veteran

        Come on Johnny. Her knee jerked. The usual liberal reaction to any issue.

      • curmudgeon VN Veteran

        Perhaps, but your democrat party pretty much has a lock on child molesters and pedophiles. See Bill Clinton and Bob Menendez for starters, but I will grant you they all seem attracted to politics since it beats the Hell out of working at real jobs. Politics sure does not appear to attract our Nation’s “Best and brightest”.

      • OMGface

        So many thanks for this accurate delineation.

      • It would have been wiser to hold off on making a comment until he knew the fact’s, don’t you think?

      • OMGface

        NO, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE HE DID NOT KNOW. What he did/said is who he settles for being ongoing.

    • OMGface

      BRAVO STEVE!!!!!! So often now, I am so ashamed to be an American. I am not kidding. Never saw this coming, no way, and yet, it arrived.

    • Hildabeast

      My understanding was that the shooter was a registered Democrat.

      • MarcoZandrini

        If that is true, what does it really matter? He is a greatly troubled racist person.

  • Yolanda Brooks

    Allen, Great Commentary! You hit this one out of the PARK! Loved it…because you called out the delusional denial syndrome that drives many of us crazy!! There is nothing wrong with straight talk and the “R” word is not a bad word. See it say it..and move on about how to address it.

  • amersham46

    seems dumb is a family trait.

  • annum004

    Those behind politics, the banking industry and the media played a part.

  • curmudgeon VN Veteran

    God, JEB is such a liberal idiot.

    • Creeayshun Sighuntist

      And since he’s to the right of Reagan, Reagan was also a liberal by your definition. Too bad you Repukes just can’t nominate David Duke every four years.

      • curmudgeon VN Veteran

        Repuke? Clever. You come up with that all by your own little self or with the consensus of the flock? You closet Klansmen are a real hoot.

      • Creeayshun Sighuntist

        up the meds bud. Really don’t know how you somehow deduce that I am a closet klansman out of that…lol….lay off of Rush’s sack for a while and get your head out of your 4th point of contact.

      • OMGface

        BAM!!!! HIGH MARKS!

  • QB59

    Jeb the wonder boy ain’t the brightest bulb on the bush, but really, what is a dumbass such as him going to say? He doesn’t want to piss off his base with the truth.

    • OMGface

      Cut to the chase; he’s a Faustian HO. It’s the reality of the base per se which makes me hurt all over. Yr comments are all dead on accurate. Agian, I feel I must be hallucinating. How else can you explain any of this?

  • Creeayshun Sighuntist

    Hey Jeb, do you know now? I’d like to hear you followup if you plan on being a serious contender for the Presidency of the entire United States, and not just the racist states.