President Donald Trump may make a visit to Jamestown this month for the 400th Anniversary Commemorative Ceremony of representative government. Virginia Democratic leaders said they will boycott the event if the president attends.
American Evolution, organizer of the July 30 ceremonies, released a statement Saturday morning that said Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi were invited to participate in the day’s events last year by Gov. Ralph Northam, Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, and Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City.
The invitation letter from August 2018 reads, “Your presence and remarks on this important anniversary would be most appropriate.”
Although Pelosi declined the invitation, the White House has made no announcement regarding Trump’s plans, the statement said.
However, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported Saturday that Trump is scheduled to speak, “according to an individual familiar with the planning of the event.”
The day which will celebrate the First Representative Legislative Assembly in what would become the United States in 1619, will include ceremonies, tours and a Richmond Symphony concert among other activities during the week, according to American Evolution’s website.
Representatives from the Virginia General Assembly, Congress and state legislatures from across the country are supposed to attend.
Virginia House and Senate Democratic leaders released a statement that said they will not attend any part of the session where 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,” the statement reads. “We offer just three words of advice to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation: ‘Send Him Back’.”
The statement references Trump’s tweets earlier in the week that told four Democratic Congresswomen of color to go back to where they came from.
Norment released a statement that said he was disappointed in response to the planned boycott, and he asked them to reconsider.
“Sadly, it is no longer exceptional when elected leaders make partisan concerns paramount in their decisions,” Norment wrote. “The decision by the Senate and House Minority Leaders, and the Senate and House Democratic Caucus Chairs, to boycott the commemorative session because of President Trump’s participation is disappointing and embarrassing.”
Cox spokesperson Parker Slaybaugh tweeted a reminder that it was a Democratic governor who invited Trump to come and that the event should not be politicized.
Attempts to reach local representatives Del. Mike Mullin D-Newport News, Sen. Monty Mason D-Williamsburg and Del. Brenda Pogge R-James City and York counties for comment were unsuccessful.
SaraRose Martin, email@example.com, 757-243-3685, @SaraRoseMartin.