‘Send Him Back’: Virginia House Democrats vow to boycott event if President Trump attends

(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Democrats in Virginia have declared they will snub the President of the United States if he attends a commemorative event scheduled for later this month.

The White House has not made any official announcements about President Trump’s plans to attend the 400th anniversary of American democracy, to be held in Jamestown on July 30. But Virginia Democrats have not missed the opportunity to grandstand, defiantly announcing they will essentially put partisan politics ahead of America’s heritage.

“We will not be attending any part of the commemorative session where Donald Trump is in attendance. The current President does not represent the values that we would celebrate at the 400th anniversary of the oldest democratic body in the western world,” leaders of the Virginia House and Senate Democratic caucuses said in a statement issued Friday.

“We offer just three words of advice to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation: ‘Send Him Back,’” added the statement from Virginia Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw and caucus Chairwoman Mamie Locke as well as House Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn and caucus Chairwoman Charniele Herring.

The added dig was a reference to this week’s controversy sparked by Trump’s attack on four freshman Democrats. During a campaign rally speech in North Carolina on Wednesday, the president’s criticism of Rep. Ilhan Omar prompted chants of “send her back” in the arena.

While Democrats balked at the thought of Trump attending the commemoration of the first meeting of representative government in Jamestown in 1619, it was their Democratic governor who extended the invitation to Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well as others,  The Washington Post reported.

“The invitations were extended jointly by Governor Northam, Speaker [Kirk] Cox [R], and Senator [Tommy] Norment [R] last year. Speaker Pelosi’s office declined the invitation within the last two weeks. The White House has made no announcement regarding the President’s plans,” the group putting on the event, American Evolution, said in a statement Saturday.

Ungrateful Democrats vowed to boycott any ceremony in which Trump would be present, noting their anger at Northam for signing an invitation.

“They had not reached out to the legislators. No one knew,” a Democratic official who did not want to be named told the Washington Post.

The invitation to Trump, dated Aug. 16, 2018, reportedly announced that it was “our honor and privilege” to invite the president.

“Your presence and remarks on this important anniversary would be most appropriate,” the letter obtained by The Post, read. “By lending your voice and insights, you would continue a tradition that has brought numerous prior Presidents and world leaders, including Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, to Jamestown to reflect on the significance of the place and its major milestones.”

The letter was drafted by the event organizers according to Northam’s office, which made sure to distance the Democrat from Trump on Saturday.

“Governor Northam strongly condemns President Trump’s continued attack on immigrants and the diversity that makes Virginia and America who we are,” the governor’s spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said, adding that “it’s ironic the president would attend, given his recent attacks on immigrants.”

Former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe also spouted on Twitter about how “racists and white nationalists have no place in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Others, however, called out the political theater being played by Democrats, such as state Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. who slammed the lawmakers’ response as “disappointing and embarrassing.”

“I consider it an honor – and a recognition of the historic importance of this commemoration – to have the President of the United States attend. I would be similarly honored were Speaker of the House Pelosi able to join us,” Norment said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.

“Sharing the views of the leader holding an elected office is not a prerequisite for showing respect for the office,” Norment added, noting how Democrats continue to appear with the governor at events even though many have called on him to resign in the wake of a racist photo from his 1984 school yearbook.

Twitter users noted the hypocrisy of Democrats as well, with many, like state Rep. Elaine Luria, condemning the politicizing of the historic commemoration.


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