NAACP plans separate event as Trump heads to civil rights museum

NAACP plans separate event as Trump heads to civil rights museum
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The NAACP said Friday night that it would hold a separate event in Mississippi after President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE announced he would attend a civil rights museum opening there this weekend.

NAACP head Derrick Johnson, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba (D) and Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonDemocrats make U-turn on calling border a 'manufactured crisis' Hillicon Valley: Facebook unveils new cryptocurrency | Waters wants company to halt plans | Democrats look to force votes on election security | Advertisers partner with tech giants on 'digital safety' | House GOP unveils cyber agenda Top Democrats question legal basis for appointing Cuccinelli as temporary immigration chief MORE (D-Miss.) are set to hold a press conference in Jackson, Miss., on Saturday morning.

The civil rights advocates said their event was meant "to pay homage and recognition to those individuals who have dedicated their lives to the civil and human rights of Mississippians minus the presence of President Donald Trump."

Johnson and Rep. John LewisJohn LewisRichmond renames street after tennis trailblazer Arthur Ashe Sanders: Biden 'owes the country an apology' on 'civility' remarks John Lewis defends Biden: 'I don't think the remarks are offensive' MORE (D-Ga.) announced this week that they would not attend the opening event for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum after Trump said he would go.

“It’s going to be very difficult for me to be there and be on the same platform with him," Lewis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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“I think his presence would make a mockery of everything that people tried to do to redeem the soul of America and to make this country better,” he added. 

White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to a rally in Florida on Friday night that Trump's remarks at the museum will emphasize unity.

"These types of events really should be about bringing the nation together, and he’s going to deliver remarks that reflect that," Shah said.

"The civil rights movement is an amazing movement about fighting intolerance, hatred and bigotry. He’s going to honor the leaders of that movement."

The spokesman added that "it’s a little unfortunate that a moment like this that could be used for unification and for bringing people together, some folks are choosing to play politics."

The NAACP said its press conference on Saturday will be focused on honoring civil rights heroes. 

“We take this stand out of respect for our heroes and ancestors who often at the cost of their lives, paved the way for the ending of segregation and racial discrimination in Mississippi,” Johnson said in a statement.

“They stood for what was right at a time not necessarily convenient to do so and we honor that legacy by speaking truth to power and calling out this administration’s divisive policies and its pull back from civil rights enforcement.”