MIAMI (CBSMiami) — President Donald Trump heads to Mississippi this weekend to speak at the opening of a new civil rights museum but his visit is triggering an angry backlash.
Several lawmakers are boycotting the event, including one of the nation’s civil rights icons.
Mississippi’s Republican governor invited President Trump to the opening of the new civil rights museum in Jackson but that visit has turned into a dust-up with several African American lawmakers.
“We wish the people the best in the opening ceremony, but this is not the time to be a photo op for President Trump, who has no civil rights record,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D) Mississippi.
Thompson is joining civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis, in boycotting the event.
In a statement, the lawmakers said, “President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.”
Lewis fought on the front lines for voting rights, barely surviving the March from Selma in 1965. He opted out of the inauguration in January, offended by President Trump’s campaign.
The White House said in a statement, “It’s unfortunate that the two lawmakers are skipping the event…and that the president will honor the sacrifice of civil rights leaders.”
Trump’s comments after a violent alt right rally in Charlottesville this summer may have sent a conflicting message.
Citing the president’s comments about women, immigrants and football players, Lewis and Thompson said he has disrespected the efforts of civil rights activists.
They encouraged all Americans to visit the new museum but only after the president departs.
Before heading to Jackson, the president will attend a campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida.