Virginia Dems vow to boycott Jamestown event if Donald Trump comes
WASHINGTON – Democrats in the Virginia state legislature say they’ll boycott an event at Jamestown, Virginia, commemorating the 400th anniversary of representative democracy in America if President Donald Trump comes.
The event had been planned as part of “American Evolution,” a series of events at Jamestown, the site of the first permanent English colony, to celebrate key events in American and Virginia history that took place in 1619, according to the event’s website. A July 30 gathering had planned to commemorate the first legislative meeting and would feature members of Congress, the Virginia legislature and other state legislatures.
The Democratic heads of the Virginia state legislature said, in a statement released Friday, “We will not be attending any part of the commemorative session where Donald Trump is in attendance. The current President does not represent the values that we would celebrate at the 400th anniversary of the oldest democratic body in the western world.”
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The group ended their statement with what they called a word of advice to organizers: “Send Him Back.”
The phrase is a reference to one shouted at a Trump rally on July 17. During the rally in North Carolina, after Trump criticized Somali-born Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, his supporters started chanting “send her back.” That chant was drawn from a tweet Trump posted days prior in which he told four minority congresswomen — which included Omar — to “go back” where they came from.
The statement was cosigned by all of the Virginia General Assembly’s top Democratic legislators: House Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, House caucus Chairwoman Charniele Herring, Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw and House caucus Chairwoman Mamie Locke.
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American Evolution organizers responded on Saturday, noting that statements were sent to Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s offices inviting them to the event, but the White House “made no announcement regarding the President’s plans.” Pelosi’s office declined the invitation.
The rally chants sparked much controversy and condemnation from both sides of the aisle. On Thursday, Trump disavowed the chants, but on Friday, he described his supporters at the rally as “incredible people” and “incredible patriots.”
Trump said this week that he tried to stop the chant but video of the rally shows he stepped back from the lectern and allowed the crowd to continue the refrain nearly a dozen times.
Contributing: David Jackson