The NAACP urges President Trump to omit the opening celebration for a civil rights museum in Mississippi he had planned to attend, and the organization's leader harshly criticizes the president's record on civil rights. 19659003] The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, a project of the State Archives and History Department, will open with an opening ceremony on Saturday in Jackson, the state capital. The event will feature speeches by civil rights leaders and elected officials, including Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R), who extended the invitation to the president.
But NAACP president Derrick Johnson said Trump's attendance would be an "affront" to the movement commemorated by the museum.
"President Trump's statements and policies regarding the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal, and his assistance is an affront to veterans of the civil rights movement," Johnson said. "He has created a commission to reinforce voter suppression, refused to denounce white supremacists and, in general, has created a racially hostile climate in this nation."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Johnson's stance "honestly very sad" during his briefing Tuesday afternoon.
"I think this is something that should unite the country," he said. "And I hope those people will join that celebration instead of protesting."
The NAACP, founded in 1909, is one of the oldest and most prestigious civil rights organizations in the country. It is likely that the organization's rebuke will generate a new round of debate on the president's views on racial minorities and civil rights.
Some of the president's actions, including his refusal to disavow white supremacists and his vocal support for Confederate monuments have been the subject of fierce debate.
The inauguration, which will celebrate the Civil Rights Museum, as well as a new Mississippi History Museum, is expected to feature speeches by Governor Bryant; former NAACP president, Myrlie Evers; and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights leader whom Trump disparaged as "Everything speaks, speaks, speaks, there is no action or results" after Lewis said he would not attend the inauguration of the president.
Amos Brown, president of the organization's San Francisco branch and native of Jackson, called Trump's potential visit "an insult."
"He has never been a supporter of civil rights or equal opportunity or justice," Brown said in a statement. declaration. "He has kept silent about civil rights issues, and his silence says it all."