Civil rights organizations and icons are up in arms over Donald Trump's decision to attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, even as he has used his presidency to advocate for and promote extreme racism and bigotry.
Donald Trump has ruined an event opening a civil rights museum with his decision to insert himself and the racial division he has promoted within the presidency.
Trump plans to attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, over the objections of the NAACP, which called on him to pull out of the event. NAACP head Derrick Johnson said his attendance would be "an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement."
Now, one of those icons has had enough.
John Lewis, civil rights hero and Democratic congressman from Georgia, has dropped out of the event, along with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
In a joint statement, Lewis and Thompson specifically called out Trump's attendance. "President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum," they wrote.
The pair went into further detail of Trump's offense in their statement:
President Trump’s disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants and National Football League players disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and countless others who have given their all for Mississippi to be a better place.
They encourage Americans to visit the museum, but only "after President Trump departs."
Lewis served as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was one of the six leaders who organized the 1963 March on Washington. He was a Freedom Rider who was assaulted and beaten while fighting for racial justice and equality.
Lewis, who has been at the forefront of calling out Trump for his vile views and actions, is the embodiment of an American hero and icon.
The reaction to Trump's offensive attendance stands in stark contrast to President Barack Obama's attendance at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
There was no rush to boycott or condemn, because Obama had a stellar record — both in legislation and rhetorically — on civil rights.
And on stage with Obama as he spoke at the event was John Lewis, who embraced him.
Since being sworn in, Trump has been on a rampage of bigotry, proving those who warned about his racist behavior to have been right all along.
After white supremacists killed a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump described them as "very fine people."
He also made an impassioned argument in favor of statues honoring pro-slavery Confederates, comparing them to statues of George Washington.
At every turn in his presidency, he has sided with the racially destructive and gone to great lengths to attack and deride blacks, Muslims, and Latinos.
Early in his tenure, he tried to use a visit to a black history museum to allay fears about his racism. But the repugnant beliefs are too ingrained in his character for any media event to wash them away.
Racism is integral to Trump. It is who he is, and he isn't going to change. He believes that he is above the icons being honored in Mississippi and seeks to ruin the ceremony to satisfy his ego.
It is an encapsulation of what he is to his core.