Boycotted by black leaders, Trump speaks at civil rights museum opening
President Donald Trump delivered restrained, formal remarks at the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday, calling civil rights leaders true American heroes and honoring by name slain activist Medgar Evers.
During his roughly 10-minute speech following a museum tour, Trump spoke specifically of Evers’ bravery, his love for his family, and his civil rights work for the NAACP in Mississippi. Edgers was murdered in 1963 in the driveway of his home by a white supremacist and later buried in Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors, Trump noted.
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“Today, we strive to be worthy of their sacrifice. We pray for inspiration from their example. We want our country to be a place where every child from every background can grow up free from fear,” the president said.
He also called Martin Luther King, Jr. a “man who I studied and watched and admired for my entire life” and paid tribute to the nine students who protested segregation at the Jackson Public Library.
Trump went on to thank the governor of Mississippi and others who pushed to build the museum. “It is an incredible tribute to the state, a state where I’ve had great success,” Trump said as he finished his remarks.
The president’s visit to the museum opening was not without controversy.
Several civil rights leaders, including Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), boycotted the event after the Mississippi governor extended a last-minute invitation to the president. The NAACP urged Trump not to attend the event. Trump did not mention Lewis in his remarks.
Civil rights veterans said that the president’s track record was poor on such issues — from his criticism of NFL players who supported the ‘Black Lives Matter’ cause, to his treatment of women and the disabled, to the questions he frequently raised during his campaign about the legitimacy of the country’s first African-American president, President Obama.
“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil right museum,” Lewis and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a joint statement on Thursday.
The night before his Mississippi visit, Trump offered a hearty defense of Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for an Alabama Senate seat accused of preying on children when he was in his 30s. Moore has praised slave-era America, saying families then were united and that “our country had a direction.”
To appease critics, state officials segmented the events surrounding the museum opening. Trump ended up touring the museum complex, which includes the civil rights museum, and speaking at a private ceremony inside the new building, separate from an event outside on a public stage. Myrlie Evers, the widow of Medgar Evers, was expected to address Trump’s presence in her remarks at the public ceremony.
Joining Trump in Mississippi was HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, Sen. Roger Wicker, and Rep. Gregg Harper, all Republicans. He also met Charles Evers, brother of Medgar Evers.
via Politico http://politi.co/2lnbIsw
December 9, 2017 at 10:26AM