The NAACP has announced opposition to Donald Trump attending the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum this weekend, saying he has created a “racially hostile climate.”
“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, president and CEO of the NAACP, 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,” Johnson added.
The White House confirmed Tuesday that Trump will attend the museum’s opening on Saturday in Jackson, and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was “very sad” that anyone might object to his presence.
“I think that would be, honestly, very sad. 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,” Sanders said Tuesday when asked about planned protests.
“I would hope that those individuals would join in that celebration instead of protesting it. However, they have every right to protest it,” she added.
Amos Brown, an NAACP board member and Jackson native, called Trump’s planned appearance “an insult.”
In addition, Georgia Rep. John Lewis said he is reconsidering whether to attend this weekend’s opening after the White House announced Trump will be there.
“It’s going to be very difficult for me to be there and be on the same platform with him,” Lewis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Lewis was scheduled to speak at the museum opening on Saturday in Jackson, Miss. However, he told the newspaper that Trump’s attendance would be inappropriate, citing his response to an August white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in which Trump said there was blame on “both sides” for violence that ensued.
“I think his presence would make a mockery of everything that people tried to do to redeem the soul of America and to make this country better,” Lewis said.