Rep. John Lewis announced that he would not be attending the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum over the weekend, because President Donald Trump will be there.
Lewis said that Trump’s “attendance and hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed” by the museum itself.
“After careful consideration and conversations with church leaders, elected officials, civil rights activists, and many citizens of our congressional districts, we have decided not to attend or participate in the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum,” Lewis said in a statement.
In particular, Lewis pointed to the president’s “disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants, and National Football League players.”
“The struggles represented in this museum exemplify the truth of what really happened in Mississippi,” he said. “After President Trump departs, we encourage all Mississippians and Americans to visit this historic civil rights museum.”
This is a particularly damning decision and statement from Lewis, considering the fact that he is a hero to the civil rights movement.
Lewis is not the only one to express concerns over Trump attending the museum opening, either. The NAACP has also said that it does not want Trump there.
“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,” Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO, said in a statement. “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.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi also announced that he would not be speaking at the event if Trump was there.
“The civil rights marchers who are being honored would turn over in their grave knowing that somebody who’s stood for that stuff would be in attendance,” Thompson told the Boston Globe. “The question is, do I want to be associated with someone who is that narrow in focus.”