Rep. John Lewis to skip civil rights museum opening

Rep. John Lewis (Photo Source: US Congress)
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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- The White House says it's "unfortunate" that congressmen John Lewis of Georgia and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi won't be joining President Donald Trump at the opening of a civil rights museum in Mississippi this Saturday.

The congressional Democrats say they won't attend the opening because Trump's attendance and "hurtful policies" are an insult to the people portrayed in the museum.

The White House says it's unfortunate the lawmakers won't join the president in honoring the "incredible sacrifice civil rights leaders made to right the injustices in our history."

The White House says Trump hopes others will join him in recognizing "that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds."

EARLIER:

U.S. Rep John Lewis says he won't speak at the opening of Mississippi civil rights and history museums because President Donald Trump will attend.

Lewis made the announcement Thursday. The Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon helped organize the 1964 Freedom Summer targeting segregation in Mississippi.

Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson and former Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus are also not attending the ceremony.

The ceremony marks Mississippi's bicentennial of admission into the union. The NAACP has said Trump should cancel his planned appearance because of his divisive record on civil rights issues.

Several prominent Mississippi Democrats say they won't attend. Some are planning protests.