WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s plan to attend the grand opening of a Mississippi civil rights museum is drawing pushback, including from the NAACP.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Trump will travel to the state on Saturday to help open the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum as he celebrates the state’s bicentennial.
In this Nov. 10, 2017 image, a monolith listing the names, dates and rationale for the lynching of African-American residents rests in the foreground of a photograph of a burning Ku Klux Klan cross on display in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Miss. The monolith is one of several that line this gallery with the documented lynchings. Room has been left for updating as needed. This facility is adjacent to the newly built Museum of Mississippi History, that documents the state’s rich history and the diversity of its people. Work crews and archivists are putting the final touches on the two museums set to open Dec. 9. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
But the NAACP said in a statement that Trump should cancel his planned appearance because of his record on civil rights issues. Other activists are also threatening to boycott or protest Trump’s participation.
“President Trump’s statements and policies regarding the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement. He called Trump’s planned attendance “an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier Tuesday that protests and boycotts of the event would be “honestly, very sad.”
In this Nov. 10, 2017 image, Ellie Dahmer, foreground, wife of Vernon Dahmer of Hattiesburg, who was killed in 1966 by the Ku Klux Klan, their daughter Bettie Dahmer, and an older brother Harold, right, view some of the artifacts in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum during a private preview in Jackson, Miss. Dahmer was targeted because he encouraged fellow African-Americans to register to vote during the Jim Crow era. The facility is adjacent to the newly built Museum of Mississippi History, that documents the state’s rich history and the diversity of its people. Work crews and archivists are putting the final touches on the two museums set to open Dec. 9. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
“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 would I hope that those individuals would join in that celebration instead of protesting it,” she said.
Trump has been criticized for racially charged tweets and comments, including blaming “both sides” for violence at a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump has also been critical of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police violence and racism.
Trump visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington this year.