Former President Bill Clinton said he “almost” apologised for clashing with Black Lives Matter protesters on Thursday in Philadelphia, he recalled during a campaign event the next day.
“I like and believe in protests,” Clinton told a crowd Friday in Erie, Pennsylvania, according to The Guardian’s Sabrina Siddiqui. “But I never thought I should drown anybody else out. And I confess — maybe it’s just a sign of old age — but it bothers me now when that happens.”
“I almost want to apologise for it,” he added. “But I want to use it as an example of the danger threatening our country.”
Clinton became enraged after a group of Black Lives Matter protesters interrupted him multiple times at a Thursday rally for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner. He offered a particularly passionate defence of his tough-on-crime approach during the 1990s. Both Clintons have softened some of their stances on police issues.
“I don’t know how you would characterise the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out on the street to murder other African-American children,” Clinton said Thursday. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens — she didn’t. She didn’t!”
“You are defending the people who killed the lives you say matter,” he added. “Tell the truth!”
On Friday, Clinton said he “realised” both he and the protesters were talking past each other instead of engaging in a dialogue.
“We’ve got to stop that in this country,” he said. “We’ve got to listen to each other again.”