Casten and Ives sound off on Black Lives Matter and Trump during forums

Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten and Republican challenger Jeanne Ives voiced diametrically different opinions of the Black Lives Matter movement and its members during separate public forums Tuesday.

Casten, a Downers Grove resident seeking his second term as the congressman for Illinois' 6th District, called the movement "amazingly inspiring" and said most Americans support the effort, which opposes police brutality and racially motivated violence.

"I think that is such a beautiful sign of progress," Casten said.

Conversely, Ives, a former state legislator from Wheaton who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018, blasted the group as "a Marxist organization that wants to destroy the nuclear family."

Ives also said she doesn't understand why protesters are allowed to paint the Black Lives Matter name on streets or march without parade permits.

The candidates' remarks came during online events run by the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce. Jim Di Ciaula, the group's president and CEO, moderated the discussions.

In addition to talking about Black Lives Matter, Casten and Ives shared opinions about other issues, including President Donald Trump's actions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Casten called the White House's response to the emergency "an embarrassment."

Casten specifically cited the administration's silencing of health experts, Trump's long news conferences and the president's reluctance to fully implement the Defense Production Act to produce critically needed medical supplies as failures.

"Almost everything that could have been done wrong was done wrong," Casten said.

Casten also accused Trump of telling people to drink bleach to fight the coronavirus, a reference to controversial remarks Trump made during a briefing in April. However, Trump didn't actually recommend ingesting bleach during the briefing.

Ives praised the president for restricting travel to and from China in late January.

Ives then chided "prominent Democrats" who encouraged Americans to visit businesses in predominantly Chinese neighborhoods in San Francisco and New York.

"The truth is, that was the right response at that time," Ives said of the restrictions.

Ives also praised Trump for later lifting those restrictions to get personal protective equipment and other gear from China.

But Ives had criticisms of Trump's performance, too.

"Did some of his briefings get kind of awkward? Yes, absolutely, 100%," she said. "Was there mixed advice on mask or no mask? Yes, absolutely."

The 6th District includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

Libertarian Party candidate Bill Redpath of West Dundee also is running for the 6th District seat.

The forums were the first in a series the chamber will hold ahead of the Nov. 3 election. The next one is set for Sept. 1 and will feature 14th District Democratic U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood of Naperville and Republican challenger Jim Oberweis, a state senator from Sugar Grove.

Additional forums will feature state legislative candidates. To learn more, visit

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