On July 30, a celebration will be held to commemorate the 400th anniversary of representative democracy in America at Jamestown, Virginia. Many distinguished guests were invited to attend by Governor Northam, Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, and Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment. Friday night, Virginia Democrats issued a statement – if President Trump attends, they will boycott the event. Their message is “Send Him Back.”
The drama at this late date is all about capitalizing on the Trump versus the Squad kerfuffle. Virginia House Democrats issued their ultimatum. If President Trump accepts the invitation to attend and speak at the celebration, they won’t be there. This looks like a preemptive strike by the Virginia Democrats, though, because it is unclear if President Trump is even planning to attend the event. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was also invited, has declined to attend. The group in charge of organizing the celebration, American Evolution, notified both Pelosi and Trump Saturday of the Democrats’ statement. While Pelosi declined, President Trump has not announced his decision, according to the organizers.
The event had been planned as part of “American Evolution,” a series of events at Jamestown, the site of the first permanent English colony, to celebrate key events in American and Virginia history that took place in 1619, according to the event’s website. A July 30 gathering had planned to commemorate the first legislative meeting and would feature members of Congress, the Virginia legislature and other state legislatures.
It should be noted that the Virginia House has a Republican majority, as does the Virginia Senate. Governor Northam is a Democrat. Hey, remember that time some embarrassing photographs of Ralph Northam surfaced from back in his college days and he was in blackface for a frat party? I’m old enough to remember that and yet there he is – still the Governor of Virginia. Democrats united behind him as though it was no big deal. They moved on in order to keep Virginia in the hands of the Democrats. (You may also remember that Virginia’s Lt. Gov. has some real problems, too, but he’s still there.)
The Virginia Democrats who were fine with Northam’s past involvement with partying in blackface now are virtue-shaming President Trump. Maybe the Democrats think that racism comes in varying degrees. Apparently, it is a bridge too far for the Democrats in Virginia that President Trump spoke up and criticized congresswomen who so strongly bashed his administration’s immigration policies and the Border Patrol agents doing their jobs. Trump punches back. This is not breaking news.
On the chance that President Trump does agree to attend the event in Jamestown, the Democrat leadership in the House issued a statement and posted it on Twitter Friday night.
Statement from House Democratic Leader @EFillerCorn, House Democratic Chair @C_Herring, Senate Democratic Leader @DickSaslaw, and Senate Democratic Chair @SenatorLocke on reports that Donald Trump will attend the commemorative session in Jamestown next week. pic.twitter.com/Mdrud9UH5S
— VA House Democrats (@VAHouseDems) July 20, 2019
“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’.”
According to the Richmond-Times Dispatch Saturday, “an individual familiar with the planning of the event” says the president will attend. Republican leadership issued comments and remind that it was a Democrat governor who issued the invitation in the first place to President Trump.
“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.
Like clockwork, former Governor and Clinton minion Terry McAuliffe jumped into the fray on Twitter after the Virginia Democrats weighed in. He described President Trump as a racist and a white nationalist, just in case there was any confusion with the meaning of the message.
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) July 20, 2019
Virginia Democrats can speak for themselves. The rest of us can note their lack of self-awareness and go on about our lives.