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Kamala to Attend Criminal Justice Forum After Boycott Due to Trump

Kamala to Attend Criminal Justice Forum After Boycott Due to Trump
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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) attended a criminal justice forum at Benedict College after pledging to boycott the event the day before due to President Trump’s keynote address at the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum, where he was awarded the Bipartisan Justice Award.

Harris announced on Friday that she would skip the event and hold her own criminal justice roundtable due to the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center’s recognition of Trump.

In a statement, Harris expressed her disgust with Trump’s recognition, citing his purported “decades of celebrating mass incarceration, pushing the death penalty for innocent Black Americans, rolling back police accountability measures, and racist behavior that puts people’s lives at risk.”

However, her national spokesman Ian Sams confirmed on Saturday that the presidential hopeful would participate in the forum after Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin (D) released a statement, assuring candidates that the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center had nothing to do with the event.

“I am excited to welcome presidential candidates to a criminal justice forum dialogue which will allow Benedict College students and the wider community to have full participation,” Benjamin said.

“I want to be clear that the Candidate Forums are hosted by myself and Benedict College. This portion of the weekend is not a 20/20 Presidential Justice Center event,” he added.

“Because of Kamala’s protest, the sponsor that awarded Trump has been completely removed from this event and it’s been opened up to HBCU student participation,” Sams announced.

“She led, and she got results. She will now participate in Mayor Benjamin’s forum at Benedict today,” he added:

UPDATE >> Because of Kamala’s protest, the sponsor that awarded Trump has been completely removed from this event and it’s been opened up to HBCU student participation. She led, and she got results. She will now participate in Mayor Benjamin’s forum at Benedict today. https://t.co/XdgBdNjpDU

— Ian Sams (@IanSams) October 26, 2019

However, as the Washington Post noted, “it wasn’t clear in what ways the sponsor was no longer affiliated with the event because the group maintained a presence there throughout the day.”

In fact, the organization tweeted a picture of Harris speaking at the event:

Senator @KamalaHarris at the 2019 Second Step Presidential Forum @BenedictEDU pic.twitter.com/KeSpqtMaNS

— 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center (@the2020club) October 26, 2019

Our great @the2020club Leader, Mayor @hardiedavis, asking @KamalaHarris about #cjreform, education, and supporting HBCUs. #2019PJF pic.twitter.com/Qmk0oiVhFO

— 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center (@the2020club) October 26, 2019

UPDATE: @the2020club still claims to be sponsoring the candidate portion of the forum. And they are advertising @KamalaHarris as a participant. This contradicts @SteveBenjaminSC, @BenedictEDU and other campaigns.

Grab your popcorn, folks. 🍿 pic.twitter.com/dkrQtmeSyq

— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) October 26, 2019

And there it is: @the2020club, claiming they are still sponsoring forum, tweets @KamalaHarris speaking at ‘their’ event. She agreed to speak after 20/20 was removed as the event sponsor. It will be very interesting to see how the Harris campaign responds.🍿https://t.co/LvpcuvHaB0

— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) October 26, 2019

MORE: Mayor @SteveBenjaminSC – also a trustee of @BenedictEDU – disputes the claims by @the2020club.

“This is not a 20/20 event, ” he just told me.

He says the group is still doing their own panels but not candidate part. Says 20/20 signs will be replaced w/ Benedict signs.

— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) October 26, 2019

“The only external evidence of sponsorship was a typed note on one of the doors advising attendees that entering the area meant they could be photographed or filmed for ‘2020 Bipartisan Justice Center marketing material,’” the Washington Post reported.

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