Political Editors / December 8, 2017

Lewis: Grandstanding Trumps Civil Rights

John Lewis refuses to attend opening of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum because Trump will be there.

Representatives John Lewis (D-GA) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) made it clear that they would not attend the grand opening ceremony for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum over the weekend. Why? Well, because Donald Trump will also be attending the opening — just as the president should, given the historic significance of the event. Lewis explained, “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.” Ironic that an icon of the civil rights movement would willingly disassociate himself from such a historic moment due to his personal animus toward Trump. Then again, this is the same John Lewis who staged an anti-Second Amendment congressional sit-in to deny civil rights.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to Lewis’ and Thompson’s decision, stating that it was “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.” Highlighting the need to strive for commonality rather than promote discord, Sanders further wrote, “The President hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds.”

To put it bluntly, this stunt is designed as a no-win situation for Trump. He’s damned if he does or damned if he doesn’t. Trump’s visit is being used as an opportunity by Lewis and Thompson to grandstand and label Trump a racist, because he’s a Republican. However, if Trump were to decide not to attend, then they would be excoriating him for failing to recognize and show the proper respect for the sacrifices made by those Civil Rights-era individuals in their fight for equal rights. Once again, Democrats make the mistake of viewing the man as bigger than the office.

Update: In the end, NBC News reports, “The growing criticism of his visit led the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the White House to create a separate private program for Trump as a compromise, and the public event occurred without the president.” Pathetic.

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