President Donald Trump plans to attend the opening celebration for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday, but the NAACP says he shouldn’t bother showing up.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson said Trump’s very presence at the opening would be insulting to the purpose of the museum.
“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,” Johnson said. “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.”
Amos Brown, an NAACP board member, echoed Johnson’s sentiments, calling the visit an “insult.”
“He has never been a supporter of civil rights or equal opportunity or justice,” Brown said in a statement. “He’s been silent on civil rights issues, and his silence speaks volumes.”
Trump was invited to the museum’s opening by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, who is set to speak at the event along with former NAACP chairman Myrlie Evers and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a former civil rights leader.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed the NAACP’s criticisms as “very sad” and said she hoped the visit would bring unity.
“I think this is something that should bring the country together,” Sanders said. “And I would hope that those individuals would join in that celebration instead of protesting it.”
During the 2016 election, Trump attempted to visit a civil rights museum in North Carolina, but the museum declined the request, saying “we are not going to allow the museum to be used for political gain.”