The highly anticipated opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will not be attended by some notable Democrats who are boycotting because President Trump will be visiting.
Georgia Rep. John Lewis and Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson announced they will not be among the attendees at the event Saturday, citing the president’s presence as the reason in a joint statement.
“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum,” they said. “President Trump’s disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants and National Football League players disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and countless others who have given their all for Mississippi to be a better place.”
Reps. Bennie Thompson and John Lewis statement on not attending opening of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum:
“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.” pic.twitter.com/8S3kK6Oecg
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 7, 2017
The chairwoman of the Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee, Jacqueline Amos, called Trump’s imminent appearance at the museum’s opening “a slap in the face” according to The New York Times.
Never mind that Trump was invited by Gov. Phil Bryant to take part in the state’s 200th anniversary celebration and that a presidential visit is completely appropriate for the opening of the civil rights museum and the opening of the History of Mississippi Museum. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is scheduled to accompany the president, CNN reported.
Lewis and Thompson encouraged “all Mississippians and Americans to visit this historic civil rights museum,” – after Trump leaves.
Lewis, the 77-year-old civil rights icon who also boycotted Trump’s inauguration and questioned whether he was a “legitimate president,” was slated as a guest speaker for Saturday’s opening. He was joined by Thompson on Wednesday as a group of 58 House Democrats voted to impeach Trump – a measure that was voted down.
“This is still a free country, and attending this event is open to anyone who wishes to come,” Myrlie Evers, the widow of assassinated Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers, told the Times. “I hope in his coming there will be an opportunity for him to learn something.”
She added: “If God gives me the breath and the strength, I will address his attendance when I stand to speak.”
The president of the national NAACP criticized the invitation, according to CNN. Trump “created a racially hostile climate in this nation,” Derrick Johnson said.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders found the boycott by the Democratic lawmakers “unfortunate.”
“We think it’s unfortunate that these members of Congress wouldn’t join the President in honoring the incredible sacrifice civil rights leaders made to right the injustices in our history,” Sanders said. “The President hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds.”
Unfortunately, instead of removing barriers, those like Lewis and Thompson only drive the wedge deeper with boycotts and protests.
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