Trump to attend opening of civil rights museum in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. — President Donald Trump will travel to Jackson, Mississippi, Saturday for the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

A White House official confirmed to CNN Monday that the stop will be part of the President’s swing through the South, which will be kicked off with a campaign-style rally in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday. The rally will come just days after Trump endorsed Roy Moore, the contentious Republican candidate in Alabama’s Senate race.

The museum, located just blocks from the governor’s mansion, has been under construction since 2014. According to its website, it will promote “a greater understanding of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and its impact by highlighting the strength and sacrifices of its people.”

It features eight galleries that focus on the years 1945 to 1976 “when Mississippi was ground zero for the national Civil Rights Movement,” the website says.

Pamela Junior, the director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, recently told the Clarion-Ledger that the galleries will focus on several aspects of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, ranging from the slave trade to lynchings and Freedom Riders who were once arrested in Jackson.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Mississippi, issued a statement praising Trump’s visit, saying he hoped it would help Trump “understand the pain he is causing the black and underserved communities across America.”

“His unfair budget cuts in agriculture, education, health care and housing disproportionately impacts people of color and is viewed by many as an act reminiscent of Jim Crow policies of the South,” Thompson said in his statement.

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson called Trump’s planned visit “an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement.”

“Trump’s statements and policies regarding the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal,” he said Tuesday in a statement. “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.”

Trump was widely criticized for racially charged remarks he made in the wake of a deadly incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, when protesters clashed over the removal of a Confederate statue.

Thirty-two-year-old Heather Heyer was killed in August when a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters gathered to oppose a “Unite the Right” rally of white nationalist and other right-wing groups. Nineteen others were injured in the incident.

The President told reporters during a news conference days after the incident: “I think there is blame on both sides.”

“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at, as you say, the ‘alt-right,’ do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump asked. “What about the fact they came charging with clubs in hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem? I think they do.”