African-American Congressmen Will Skip Mississippi Civil Rights Event To Avoid Trump

Rep. John Lewis thanks anti-gun violence supporters following a rally with fellow Democrats on the East Front steps of the U.S. House of Representatives

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U.S. Rep John Lewis announced Thursday that he won't speak at the opening of MS civil rights and history museums, saying it's an "insult" that President Donald Trump will attend. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum focuses primarily on the years 1945 to 1976, telling about efforts to break down segregation and bigotry, and the violent backlash against that work.

"After careful consideration and conversations with church leaders, elected officials, civil rights activists, and many citizens of our congressional districts, we have decided not to attend or participate in the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum", Lewis said in a statement. "We call it 'Turn Our Backs to Hate.' Turn our back toward the motorcade as they drive by", Brice said. Trump then took to Twitter to call Lewis' Atlanta-based 5th Congressional District "crime infested" and "in disgusting shape".

Another person not happy about President Trump's visit is Jackson City Councilman Melvin Priester.

"This is not a place for cheap political tricks".

In response, Trump said the Democrat should "spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in disgusting shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results".

"I'm the same age as Trump. It kind of feels like that's the card the governor has deal at this time", he said.

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The national NAACP also disapproved of the invitation.

Lewis, a civil rights icon, has been a frequent critic of the president and previously sparred with him over Twitter after saying he didn't feel Trump was a "legitimate president".

"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", Mr. Johnson said.

Both the Mississippi Democratic Party and the NAACP chapter in Mississippi said they had not been informed that Trump had been invited by Bryant until it was published in news reports. "We are kinder and more tolerant here in MS than I think perhaps other places". Former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus and state Rep. Sonya Williams Barnes (D-Gulfport), who chairs the Black Caucus, also announced they'll be staying away from the museum's opening. "I don't know anyone who thinks this is a smart move".

"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", Lewis said Wednesday.

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