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Rick Santorum Brushes Off Meeting ‘Black Lives Matter’ Leader in Charleston

A photograph of Rick Santorum was circulating around the Internet on Sunday when the 2016 candidate sat next to civil rights activist Deray McKesson at Mother Emanuel AME Church’s service. The service first drew attention for being the first Sunday session since the Charleston Shooting, but the photo, taken by MSNBC reporter Trymaine Lee, created a buzz in the wake of an interview where Santorum previously declined to comment on the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag.

On Tuesday, Santorum appeared on America’s Newsroom, where Martha MacCullum asked him about what he talked about with the leader of the Black Lives Matter movement. Despite “exchanging pleasantries” with McKessen, Santorum said that there was not as much to talk about between them as the Internet might have thought.

“I was sitting there and he came and sat next to me and introduced himself — I frankly didn’t know who he was,” Santorum said. The former senator proceeded to talk about the religious implications of the ceremony, saying that he only gave McKessen a handful of comments about that aspect of the event.

To this, Santorum made a subtle jab at McKessen, saying with a chuck that during the service “[McKessen] was spending a lot of his time on his phone.”

Santorum’s statements come as a parallel commentary to a report from National Review, which criticized McKessen as a “professional protester” who feeds off of incidents of racial injustice to fuel his own message. The article also made mention of how his outspoken style recently led to the creation #GoHomeDeray as a response to his appearances in Charleston.

McKessen has not directly respond to the attention attached to Lee’s photo, but he did leave his followers speculating when he tweeted a searing remark on some of the politicians visiting Charleston.

You can watch the segment here, via Fox:

[h/t Talking Points Memo]
[Image via Screengrab]

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