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2 black lawmakers cancel appearances at Miss. museum opening that Trump will attend

Alex Wong/Getty Images

US Representative John Lewis, in September.

By Astead W. Herndon Globe Staff 

WASHINGTON — Two black lawmakers, including civil rights hero John Lewis, announced they intend to skip an appearance at Saturday’s opening of a Mississippi civil rights museum after President Trump said he plans to attend.

US Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi released a statement on behalf of himself and Lewis a day after the Globe reported the lawmakers were considering snubbing the president. In the statement, they cited Trump’s insults of black athletes who protest racial injustice in the NFL and Trump’s partial defense of white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Va.

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Trump’s “attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum,” Lewis and Thompson, both Democrats, said. “President Trump’s disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants, and National Football League players disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and countless others who have given their all for Mississippi.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration was disappointed. “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,” Sanders said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Thompson denounced Trump in stronger terms, saying those being honored “would turn over in their grave” knowing someone like Trump would attend.

Astead W. Herndon

can be reached at astead.herndon@globe.com.