Black Leaders Stay Away From Civil Rights Museum Opening Due To Trump’s Attendance

President Donald Trump attended the grand opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Saturday morning, touring the museum and delivering prepared remarks. However, there was quite an elephant in the room during Trump’s visit, and it was not only his past issues with civil rights and racism.

Many black leaders in the civil rights community stayed away from the museum’s opening as well.

US Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.), who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 1960s, and US Representative Bennie Thompson (R-Miss.) both declined invitations to attend the opening due to Trump’s attendance. The men released a statement, writing:

President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.”

The men also said that Trump has shown disrespect to those who fought for civil rights with his comments about women, immigrants, the disabled, and National Football League players. The NAACP also criticized Trump’s involvement with the event.

Without a shred of self-awareness, Trump said the following at the opening:

We want our country to be a place where every child from every background can grow up free from fear, innocent of hatred and surrounded by love, opportunity and hope.”

This is the same man who started his political career by pushing the racist “birther” theory about former President Barack Obama, and who announced his candidacy for President in a speech where he referred to Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers.

Trump finished his speech by saying:

Today we pay solemn tribute to our heroes of the past and dedicate ourselves to building a future of freedom, equality justice and peace.”

It would be much easier to take him seriously with his comments on race if things like this did not happen on a regular basis:

It’s a bit tough to be taken seriously as caring about civil rights when a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan wants to “thank God” for you.

And if you still think our President is a kind man who cares about marginalized groups of people, here’s the video of him mocking a Serge Kovaleski, a disabled reporter for the New York Times.

Featured image via Flickr user Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0.