Trump Came, He Saw, He Did Not Tweet

Photo credit: Philip Shucet

President Trump conducted himself with the dignity one normally expects from a president earlier today at the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the first legislative assembly in the New World and the arrival of the first African slaves. For a day at least, he set aside sharp words and divisive tweets. Following his controversial criticism over the weekend of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, and what he described as the rodent-infested condition of Cummings’ Baltimore district, Trump took the opportunity to praise the first people in North America to form a representative government, to condemn slavery, and to honor African-Americans’ contributions to U.S. history.

Photo credit: Philip Shucet

Wherever Trump goes, controversy is sure to follow, even when he is not instigating it. Not only did the General Assembly’s black caucus refuse to attend ceremonies in which he appeared, Del. Ibraheem S. Samirah, D-Herndon, caused a brief disruption during the president’s speech when he raised a sign, saying, “Go back to your corrupted home. Deport hate. Reunite my family and all those shattered by systemic discrimination.”

“The man is unfit for office and unfit to partake in a celebration of democracy, representation and our nation’s history of immigrants,” Samirah said in a Twitter post.

The Republican Party of Virginia cited previous Samirah tweets to characterize him as an anti-Semite. Several years ago the second-generation Palestinian tweeted that the KKK was “better than Israel” and wondered “why he should care about the Holocaust.

Otherwise, the ceremonies proceeded without incident. Various events were attended by Virginia’s three statewide elected officials, all Democrats, as well as by former Republican governors Jim Gilmore and Bob McDonnell and numerous current Republican lawmakers.

Update: It’s not quite accurate to imply that Trump did not tweet about his visit to Virginia. Checking his Twitter account, I see that he tweeted briefly: “Great reception in Jamestown by both REPUBLICANS & DEMOCRATS. Respect for our Country’s incredible Heritage. Thank you!