The White House on Thursday hit back at Rep. John LewisJohn LewisHarris, CBC put weight behind activist-led National Black Voter Day Budowsky: High stakes drama for Biden, Manchin, Sinema Stacey Abrams backs Senate Democrats' voting rights compromise MORE (D-Ga.) and a House colleague for their decisions to skip the opening of a Mississippi civil rights museum because of President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE’s attendance.
“We think it’s unfortunate that these members of Congress wouldn’t join the president in honoring the incredible sacrifice civil rights leaders made to right the injustices in our history,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
She added that Trump “hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds.”
Lewis and Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonJan. 6 committee taps former Bush administration official as top lawyer Overnight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France Jan. 6 panel says it is reviewing Milley actions MORE (D-Miss.) announced in a joint statement on Thursday that they would not attend the opening, saying Trump’s presence is an “insult” to the civil rights movement.
“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum,” the lawmakers said, citing Trump's “disparaging” comments about women, the disabled, immigrants and NFL players.
Lewis was a prominent leader during the civil rights movement of the 1960s and was badly beaten along with other activists by police during a famous march in Selma, Ala.