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Trump marks opening of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

President Trump paid tribute to the victories and struggles of the civil rights movement on Saturday at the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Miss., a highly scrutinized appearance that was boycotted by some Democratic lawmakers.
 
“The civil rights museum records the oppression, cruelty and injustice inflicted on the African-American community, the fight to end slavery, to break down Jim Crow, to end segregation, to gain the right to vote and to achieve the sacred birthright of equality,” Trump said in his opening remarks, after taking a tour of the museum.
 
“That’s big stuff, that’s big stuff. Those are very big phrases, very big words,” Trump added.
 
{mosads}Trump has received criticism from civil rights activists for various comments in the first months of his presidency, including his controversial remarks on NFL players who protest racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem at games.
 
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who took part in the landmark 1965 march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, cited Trump’s remarks on the NFL protests in his announcement that he would not attend the museum opening Saturday, a move which prompted backlash from both Trump and the White House. 
 
“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum,” Lewis in a joint statement with Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who also boycotted the opening.
 
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba (D) echoed Lewis’s remarks on CNN, calling Trump’s visit “ill-considered,” and saying that Trump and “the policies he espouses are disrespectful to the legacy and history that is to be portrayed in this museum.”
 
In his remarks, Trump paid homage to the movement’s founders and those who died in the fight for equal rights. 
 
“Here we memorialize the brave men and women who struggled to sacrifice and sacrificed so much so that others might live in freedom. Among those we honor are the Christian pastors who started the civil rights movement in their own churches, preaching like Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a man I have studied, watched and admired for my entire life,” Trump said. 
 
The president also mentioned Medgar Evers, a Mississippi civil rights activist and World War II veteran who was murdered by a white supremacist in 1963, and gave a shoutout to Evers’s brother Charles Evers in the audience, whom he said he “liked a lot.” 
Tags Bennie Thompson Donald Trump Donald Trump John Lewis

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