The blowback against Donald Trump’s racism is inspiring protestors to disrupt his public appearances as anger over his bigoted Twitter attacks against Democrats with minority backgrounds spills over from the virtual space to the real world.
Today Trump made a scheduled speech this morning in Jamestown, Virginia to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the First Representative Legislative Assembly in nearby Williamsburg.
The choice of a president who has done more to undermine America’s democratic traditions than any other president in history to speak at an event celebrating the initial attempts at a representative political body in our country created enough cognitive dissonance in Ibraheem Samirah — a Muslim state legislator in the Virginia House of Delegates — to motivate him to decide to interrupt Trump’s speech with a vociferous protest.
Delegate Samirah stopped Trump mid-sentence as he began to shout loudly from his spot in the audience.
“Mr. President, you can’t send us back, Virginia is our home!” he yelled repeatedly, referring to Trump’s controversial call to the four Democratic congresswomen in “the squad” to go back to where they came from.
Samirah brandished a sign with multiple messages that he displayed to the assembled audience while he shouted — “go back to your corrupted home,” “deport hate” and “reunite my family” the slogans on the sign read. Meanwhile, Trump stood surprised and speechless until the Virginia legislator was removed.
"Mr. President, you can't send us back, Virginia is our home!"
— ABC News (@ABC) July 30, 2019
Shortly after being escorted out of the speech by security, Delegate Samirah took to Twitter to explain his motivations in his public protest, releasing a statement that detailed his criticisms of Trump and making a convincing argument that he’s unfit for the presidency, and certainly the wrong choice for a speech meant to celebrate the founding of democratic institutions.
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
The bravery of the Virginia delegate needs to be replicated at every appearance that Trump makes, in massive numbers, so that the president and his supporters can see the magnitude of the opposition to his policies.
While negative replies to Trump’s Twitter posts may give him some indication of the measure of dissent in this country, there is nothing like in-person protests by enormous numbers of people to get the message across in a truly visceral manner.
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Original reporting by Justin Wise at The Hill.