Virginia Delegate Ibraheem S. Samirah (D-Fairfax) today interrupted President Trump’s speech at the 400th anniversary of the first legislative session by white settlers in North America. Samirah raised a sign bearing protest slogans including “Go back to your corrupted home” and “Reunite my family.”
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 30, 2019
“400 years ago today, a group of undocumented immigrants formed a government to rule this Commonwealth, beginning a centuries long tradition of people from across the world immigrating here for a chance at safety, democracy, and prosperity; my parents, who are Palestinian refugees, included,” Samirah said in a news release. “The fact that the racist-in-chief, who so openly stokes hate against immigrants, was even invited to this event is insulting to Virginians and insulting to the history of our Commonwealth’s democracy.
“We have to remember that his rhetoric translates directly into policy. He cages kids. He separates families. He bans Muslims. He deprives people the human right of seeking asylum. And it doesn’t end at the border. He is cutting food stamps, taking away healthcare and environmental protections,” Samirah said.
Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus also objected to Trump’s presence at the Jamestown event, dubbed the American Evolution, and announced Monday evening that it would boycott the celebration, saying it would be “tarnished unduly” by Trump’s presence.
“It is impossible to ignore the emblem of hate and disdain that the President represents,” the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said in a statement. The group said Trump “continues to make degrading comments toward minority leaders, promulgate policies that harm marginalized communities, and use racist and xenophobic rhetoric.”
Trump’s appearance and the resulting controversy injection dissent into an event that had been years in the making. Virginia officials had organized it to showcase the state’s pivotal role in American history.
While some applauded Samirah’s actions, others in the crowd booed and began chanting “USA, USA.”
“Delegate Samirah’s outburst was nothing more than childish frustration over Hillary Clinton’s loss,” said Republican Party of Virginia chairman Jack Wilson. “If the Democrats wanted someone to protest this historic, bipartisan event, maybe they should not have picked an anti-Semite. Ibraheem Samirah is a disgrace to Virginia and should resign.”