The NAACP has asked President Trump not to attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum this weekend, saying Trump’s presence at the event would be an “insult” and an “affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement.”
Trump was invited to the opening by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, and some civil rights figures said they’ll protest if the president appears.
Those plans are “honestly very sad,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, according to the Washington Post
While noting that the group has “have every right” to protest, Huckabee said. “I think this is something that should bring the country together to celebrate the opening of this museum and highlighting [the] civil rights movement and the progress that we’ve made. And I would hope that those individuals would join in that celebration instead of protesting it.”
The museum, the first state-supported civil rights museum in the nation, opens on Saturday in Jackson. The state history museum, which is adjacent, opens at the same time. Trump’s intention to attend the cermonies came as a surprise when word got out on Monday. The White house confirmed the visit on Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., scheduled to speak at the opening, told the AJC Wednesday that he will have a difficult time sharing a platform with Trump and is re-evaluating whether to attend the ceremony.
The NAACP’s statement said:
In a statement released today, the NAACP criticized President Trump’s proposed visit to this weekend’s opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.
“President Trump’s statements and policies regarding the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal, and his attendance is an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO. “He has created a commission to reinforce voter suppression, refused to denounce white supremacists, and overall, has created a racially hostile climate in this nation,’ added President Johnson.”
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The Jackson Free Press reported another statement today, this one from Jacqueline Amos, who chairs the Mississippi Association of County Democratic Chairs and Hinds County Democratic Party. Amos urged “all authorities” to cancel Trump’s visit, according to the Free Press. Her statement said, in part:
Any reasonable person knows that the presence of such a hugely divisive and polarizing figure will pervert and diminish what could otherwise be a healing and teaching moment for our state. Mr. Trump attained to the highest office in the land by appeals and tactics that do great and lasting violence to our civil rights heritage.
His campaign appealed to the very worst demons of the American soul. He is a disgraceful president, a malicious influence, and an abominable human being. He has no place at a celebration of the very values and aspirations his presidency is clearly committed to destroy. Mr. President, leave Mississippi alone. We have had far too much experience with your kind already.