The NAACP is urging President Trump to refrain from attending the grand opening ceremony of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson this weekend.
“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 Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO.
“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.
NAACP board member and Jackson native Amos Brown echoed similar sentiments.
“As a freedom fighter and contemporary of Emmett Till, Trump’s visit is an insult. He has never been a supporter of civil rights or equal opportunity or justice,” Brown said. “He’s been silent on civil rights issues, and his silence speaks volumes.”
The White House confirmed Tuesday that Trump would attend the ceremony and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said it was “very sad” someone wouldn’t want Trump there when she was asked about possible protests.
"I think that would be honestly very sad. I think this is 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 told reporters.
"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.
Trump was invited to the opening ceremony by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant. Speakers at the event include Bryant, along with former Govs. Haley Barbour and William Winters. Civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams will also speak, according to WAPT News.
Trump has repeatedly made comments that critics complain are racially insensitive; he most notably faced backlash in August for his initial remarks regarding the violence in Charlottesville following a white nationalist rally when he said "both sides" shared blame for for the violence.