An endorsement from a man claiming to be a founder of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island led former President Donald Trump to falsely assert that he had the “support” of the global organization and social movement.
But in a joint statement from Black Lives Matter Global Network and Black Lives Matter Rhode Island, the organizations, which are not affiliated with each other, made clear that the man in question, Mark Fisher, is not a member of the groups or the broader social justice movement.
The organizations described Fisher as “an imposter” and the Trump endorsement “a publicity stunt.”
Fisher, a former Democrat who created BLM, Inc. in Maryland, made headlines after he endorsed Trump, the leading 2024 Republican presidential candidate, over Democratic President Joe Biden. On its website, BLM Inc. bills itself as an organization advocating for entrepreneurship education and financial empowerment in Black communities across Maryland.
“We’re 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,” Fisher said during an interview on Fox News.
Black Lives Matter Rhode Island founder Gary Dantzler clarified that Fisher worked as an advocate for the group for a short period and is “absolutely not” a co-founder of the organization, Providence Journal reported.
Angela Angel, senior advisor for Black Lives Matter PAC, the political arm of Black Lives Matter Global Network, told theGrio that the nonprofit organization and Black Lives Matter Rhode Island came together to clear up any confusion that Fisher at any point represented them or the broader BLM movement.
“We wanted to be clear and set the record straight that this is not our man,” said Angel. “He created [BLM] Inc. in Maryland all for the purpose of defrauding and confusing people.”
She continued, “He is someone who knows that name can get him certain recognition … it can do what it’s supposed to do, which is muddy the waters and create confusion.”
Angel said Fisher is part of a history of opportunists and distractors in the Black community determined to “bring attention to themselves,” enrich themselves, and “dilute the movement.”
Trump, who as president called Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate” during the 2020 uprisings, used his endorsement from Fisher as an opportunity to claim that he has done more for Black Americans than any other president, except perhaps President Abraham Lincoln, who notably abolished slavery.
On his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump wrote, “I have done more for Black people than any other president (Lincoln?), including 10-year funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, where they had none, Opportunity Zones, Criminal Justice Reform, and much more.”
Though Angel refused to say Trump’s name, instead opting to refer to him as “the man who occupied the White House,” she said, “He’s never been a friend to Black people.”
She added, “He’s a terrorist. He committed treason and tried to subvert American democracy.”
Trump is “the same person” he was in 2020 when he made disparaging remarks about Black Lives Matter protesters, Angel said.
As for the twice impeached, four-times indicted former president and his support from Fisher and perhaps others, she said Trump “always used Black folks around him to manipulate and confuse the public — and that’s what’s happening now.”
When asked what Trump stands to gain from embracing an organization he once vilified to his base of supporters, Angel said, “Are we not writing articles about it? Are we not talking about it? He’ll do anything for clicks [and] for attention.”
Significant or not, Fisher’s endorsement of Trump has been used by conservatives as evidence of a narrative that Black men are gradually finding a new political home with the Republican Party thanks to Trump — a growing concern that appears to be backed up by some polling.
But while Angel admits the socioeconomic challenges Black men face are unique and how they are aligning politically is a “very complicated issue,” it should be made clear that Trump is not the solution for Black communities.
“One of the things that we also have to know is what is our collective good?” she asked rhetorically. “Who is protecting our sons and our daughters? Who is protecting the Black community as a whole, and where can we find safety?”
She added, “We’ve never been able to find that in the person that used to occupy the White House.”
Angel recalled Trump’s 1989 ad calling for the deaths of the five Black teens known then as the Central Park Five.
“He’s vilified and gone after Black folks, not for years, for decades,” she said. “He is good at his press, and one thing he is good at is manipulation.”
As the 2024 election continues to unfold, Angel said Black Lives Matter is encouraging Black voters not to fall for the “okey doke.”
She added, “Do not fall for this person who wants to use you to further his own interests.”
Gerren Keith Gaynor is a White House Correspondent and the Managing Editor of Politics at theGrio. He is based in Washington, D.C.
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