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Rep. John Lewis Not Attending Civil Rights Museum Opening Because of Trump

Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights icon who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., said he won’t attend this weekend’s opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum because of President Donald Trump’s presence.

Lewis said Thursday his decision to skip Saturday’s event was based on both Trump’s attendance and hurtful policies, which Lewis said are an insult to the people portrayed in the museum.

“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,” the Georgia Democrat said in a statement, adding that Trump’s “disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants and National Football League players disrespect the efforts” of civil rights leaders.

“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.”

The NAACP has also voiced opposition to Trump’s attendance at the museum opening.

“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,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “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.”

The White House responded Thursday, saying it was “unfortunate” that Lewis and Thompson wouldn’t attend the museum opening.

“We think it’s unfortunate that these members of Congress wouldn’t join the president in honoring the incredible sacrifice civil rights leaders made to right the injustices in our history,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “The president hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds.”

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