John Lewis won't attend civil rights museum opening due to Trump presence

John Lewis won't attend civil rights museum opening due to Trump presence
© Greg Nash

Reps. John LewisJohn LewisCongress losing faith in Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi Obama to urge rejection of 'authoritarian politics and policies' in speech Florida's Darren Soto fends off Dem challenge from Alan Grayson MORE (D-Ga.) announced Thursday he won’t attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday because President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE will be there.

“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum," Lewis said in a joint statement with Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonTrump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash Washington to finally focus on threat to supply-chain risk management Mississippi to test limits of Medicaid work requirements MORE (D-Miss.).

Lewis and Thompson cited Trump’s past comments about women, immigrants and NFL players who have protested during the national anthem before games, saying his remarks "disrespect the efforts" of civil rights leaders.

Lewis had previously said he was reconsidering whether to attend after the White House announced Tuesday that Trump would be at the event in Jackson, Miss.

“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.

"The President hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Lewis has been a frequent critic of Trump and drew the president’s ire in January, before Trump officially took office, after saying he didn't consider him to be a “legitimate president."

Trump said on Twitter the congressman should “spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested).” 

Lewis, on Wednesday, was one of 58 House Democrats who voted in favor of beginning impeachment proceedings against Trump. The measure overwhelmingly failed in the GOP-lead House.

Lewis was a key civil rights leader in the 1960s as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

The NAACP, on Tuesday, announced opposition to Trump attending the museum opening, saying he has created a “racially hostile climate.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday it was "very sad" that anyone might object to Trump's presence.

- This story was updated at 4:23 P.M. EST