A dark cloud looms in Mississippi ahead of Trump’s planned visit

December 6, 2017 in News

By Othor Cain,

Editor,

1 trump-mississippi-civil-rights-museumWhen news broke that President Donald Trump would visit the Magnolia State to participate in the grand opening of the highly anticipated Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, it sent shockwaves across the Magnolia State. For months, Mississippians have been planning, securing tickets, finalizing schedules, working behind the scenes all in preparation for this much anticipated affair. Until Monday. Monday, CNN reported that Trump would indeed visit the state. Monday, for some, plans changed when it was reported that Trump would participate in the events. Press secretaries and PR industry folk began to work over-time crafting messages.

Tuesday, the White House confirmed his visit and press statements were released within hours of the confirmation. Among those that responded was the leadership of the NAACP.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement that Trump’s record on civil rights and fraught relationship with many in the African-American community made him an unwelcome guest at the Magnolia State event.

“President Trump’s statements and policies regarding the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal, and his attendance is an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement,” Johnson said.

“He has created a commission to reinforce voter suppression, refused to denounce white supremacists, and overall, has created a racially hostile climate in this nation.”

Activists have threatened to boycott or protest Trump’s participation, which White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said would be unfortunate.

“I think that would be honestly very sad. This is something that should bring the country together to celebrate the opening of this museum and highlighting the civil rights movement and the progress that we’ve made,” she said at a White House press briefing.

Governor Phil Bryant, who extended the invitation to Trump, echoed Sanders’ statements Wednesday morning after announcing the expansion of Milwaukee Tools in three Mississippi cities, including Jackson. “The president should be here and we are thankful that he is coming, Bryant said. “It is right and fitting.”

Bryant responded specifically to the NAACP wanting him to rescind his invitation to Trump. “Well that isn’t going to happen,” he said. “I think people should put aside partisan politics and propaganda and show the hospitality this state is known for.”

The Mississippi Link has compiled a few released reactions to Trump’s visit:

The Mississippi Association of County Democratic Chairs and Hinds County Democratic Party Chairperson Jacqueline R. Amos issued the following statement:

“Yesterday, we learned with great dismay that the president will participate in the opening ceremonies of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum this Saturday. As the direct political heirs to the Freedom Democratic Party and in the spirit of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, we call upon all the authorities involved to cancel any appearance and remarks by President Donald Trump immediately. Any reasonable person knows that the presence of such a hugely divisive and polarizing figure will pervert and diminish what could otherwise be a healing and teaching moment for our state. Trump attained  the highest office in the land by appeals and tactics that do great and lasting violence to our civil rights heritage. His campaign appealed to the very worst demons of the American soul. He is a disgraceful president, a malicious influence, and an abominable human being. He has no place at a celebration of the very values and aspirations his presidency is clearly committed to destroy.

Congressman Thompson’s statement on President Trump’s attendance at Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opening

“With President Donald Trump accepting Gov. Phil Bryant’s invitation to attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, I am hopeful he will begin to understand the pain he is causing in the black and underserved communities across America,” Thompson said. “His unfair budget cuts in agriculture, education, healthcare and housing disproportionately impacts people of color and is viewed by many as an act reminiscent of Jim Crow policies of the south.”

The Mississippi Democratic Party says Trump is the wrong person for the job

Governor Phil Bryant invited the president to attend ceremonies for the opening of our state History and Civil Rights Museums. This invitation distracts attention from what should be a special day for dedicated people like Governor William Winter, Congressman John Lewis, Myrlie Evers-Williams, and the amazing struggles and achievements that bring these museums the attention they deserve. We can do better.

When scores of people who expected to celebrate this occasion are now making plans for protest, it’s abundantly clear this invitation tamped down the excited expectations of many. We can and must do better to not allow the progress showcased in these landmarks to be trampled on by anyone seeking cheap political points.

Amos Brown, NAACP board member, San Francisco branch president and native of Jackson, agrees that the president should stay away from the museum’s opening.

“As a freedom fighter and contemporary of Emmett Till, Trump’s visit is an insult. He has never been a supporter of civil rights or equal opportunity or justice,” said Brown. “He’s been silent on civil rights issues, and his silence speaks volumes.”