Virginia delegate Ibraheem Samirah (D) on Tuesday disrupted President Donald Trump’s speech commemorating the 400th anniversary of a representative legislative body meeting in the United States.
Samirah, who represents the 86th district in the Virginia House of Delegates, shouted “You can’t send us back, Virginia is our home,” while holding up signs that read “deport hate” and “go back to your corrupted home.”
Protester interrupts President Trump's remarks at 400th Anniversary of the Joint Commemorative Session of the Virginia General Assembly.
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 30, 2019
He was promptly escorted out of the president’s speech as members of the audience chanted “Trump! Trump! Trump!”
Earlier this year, Samirah won a special election to represent a northern Virginia district, which includes areas in Loudon and Fairfax counties.
The lawmaker said in a statement that he believes his constituents would prefer he protest, rather than “passively accept” President Trump’s inclusion in the historic event.
“I just disrupted the @realDonaldTrump speech in Jamestown because nobody’s racism and bigotry should be excused for the sake of being polite. The man is unfit for office and unfit to partake in a celebration of democracy, representation, and our nation’s history of immigrants,” Samirah following his protest.
I just disrupted the @realDonaldTrump speech in Jamestown because nobody's racism and bigotry should be excused for the sake of being polite. The man is unfit for office and unfit to partake in a celebration of democracy, representation, and our nation's history of immigrants. pic.twitter.com/0okD7eRVer
— Delegate Ibraheem Samirah (@IbraheemSamirah) July 30, 2019
Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox said in a statement that was disappointed by the delegate’s actions, calling them “inconsistent with common decency and a violation of the rules of the House.”
Ahead of President Trump’s remarks, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus announced that its members would boycott the event, citing the president’s participation.
“The commemoration of the birth of this nation and its democracy will be tarnished unduly with the participation of the president, who continues to make degrading comments toward minority leaders, promulgate policies that harm marginalized communities, and use racist and xenophobic rhetoric,” the lawmakers said, before claiming “it is impossible to ignore the emblem of hate and disdain” that President Trump purportedly evokes.
In his remarks, President Trump expressed optimism about Virginia’s future, while acknowledging its previous involvement with slavery. He noted in August 1619 that the first enslaved Africans were brought to Virginia, saying “it was the beginning of a barbaric trade in human lives.”
“The United States of America and the great Commonwealth of Virginia are just getting started,” the president said, adding that it “a momentous occasion.”
“We remember every sacred soul who suffered,” he added. “We remember every sacred soul who suffered the horrors of slavery and the anguish of bondage.”