UPDATE [12/7/17, 4:30 p.m. ET]:
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders commented on the boycott on Thursday, telling reporters: "We think it’s unfortunate that these members of Congress wouldn’t join the President in honoring the incredible sacrifice civil rights leaders made to right the injustices in our history. The President hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds.”
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) announced Thursday that he will not be attending the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday due to President Donald Trump's planned attendance.
In a written statement, civil rights leader Lewis and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who is also boycotting the opening, said the president's appearance at the upcoming event will be “an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.”
“President Trump's disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants, and National Football League players disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and countless others who have given their all for Mississippi to be a better place,” the statement reads.
On Wednesday, Lewis hinted that he would be skipping the event due to the president; however, the White House pushed back against the reported boycott. “I think that would be, honestly, very sad,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said during a press briefing.
"I think this is something that should bring the country together to celebrate the opening of this museum and highlighting Civil Rights Movement and the progress that we've made. And would I hope that those individuals would join in that celebration instead of protesting it.
“However, they have every right to protest it,” Sanders added.
Lewis concluded his statement on Thursday by urging “all Mississippians and Americans to visit this historic civil rights museum” once President Trump departs.