White House: ‘Unfortunate’ That Reps. John Lewis, Bennie Thompson Won’t Join President in Honoring ‘Incredible Sacrifice’ of Civil Rights Leaders

John Lewis
AP Photo/David Goldman

A civil rights museum is opening in Mississippi this weekend and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) just canceled plans to attend because the President will be there, a move that the White House called “unfortunate.”

Lewis excoriated President Donald Trump in a Thursday afternoon diatribe on why he would not attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Not only did he harshly criticized the President, but he instructed Mississippians to visit the museum only “After President Trump departs.”

Signage promoting the two new Mississippi history museums rests before the Museum of Mississippi History, left, and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Jackson, Miss. The facilities are in the process of preparing exhibits for placement in the two buildings. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded, “We think it’s 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.”

“The President hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds,” Sanders added.

President Trump will attend the opening celebration of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday, according to the White House. The museum is located in Jackson, Mississippi. The museum’s website states that the opening celebration “is open to all and will include music, speakers, and food trucks.” Tickets for free tours on Saturday and Sunday are sold out, but the museum has invited even those who don’t have tickets to “enjoy the Opening Day speakers, music, and food outdoors on the museum plaza.”

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