Trump Supporters Warn Civil Rights Museum To Step Off Sidewalk For White Candidate
A couple of weeks ago, the Donald Trump campaign really wanted to stage a photo op at the The International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, while it (the campaign, not the museum) was in the middle of pretending to appeal to African-American voters. Trump was scheduled for two campaign appearances in the state on September 20, and a Trump advance person called the museum to request that it close down for five hours so the campaign could get some video of Trump in the museum, the site of the first lunch counter sit-in of the 1960s. We first heard about it on the Rachel Maddow Show on September 23:
The museum's staff wasn't very impressed with the tone of the Trump advance guy, who was reportedly "aggressive and rude" in requesting -- or perhaps demanding -- access to the museum. The museum's CEO, John Swaine, issued a statement explaining,
The International Civil Rights Center and Museum is a non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advancing an enlightened understanding of civil rights. Any reasonable observer can conclude and many have that Donald J. Trump is in comprehensive opposition to the values and mission of the Civil Rights Museum. Also as a practical matter, the museum is not in a position to suspend its operations to serve as a backdrop to legitimatize Mr. Trump`s ideological positions.
The story got some play at the time, including a piece at Glenn Beck's The Blaze which got commenters hopping mad at those racists at the museum for denying Trump's perfectly reasonable request, because as we know, blacks are the real racists, and wasn't this just ideological segregation? (Also Robert Byrd was in the KKK, did you know that?)
In the weeks since the Trump request was denied, Swaine tells the Charlotte News & Observer, museum staffers have received numerous threats via phone and social media, probably from white people upset at the Museum's racism.
“The callers were threatening to come over and burn down the building and to shoot up the building,” he said. “They’ve lessened in frequency this week, but they’re still coming in.”
Swaine said callers have used foul language and racial epithets, and he said museum employees are now recording the calls. But he also noted that he is appreciative of support that has come via social media and in calls from across the nation.
Kirk Bell, the communications director for Trump’s North Carolina campaign, wrote in an email that the campaign “is not commenting on this matter.”
Good call. Trump's African-American outreach was so two weeks ago.
Swaine added that while he would not allow the museum to be used as "a political backdrop" by any campaign,
The museum does allow high-profile citizens to take private tours, Swaine said, and would have done so for Trump had he asked. Swaine said that he has been contacted by a member of Hillary Clinton’s campaign about a possible visit and added that the former secretary of state would also be welcome to take a private tour.
We're not sure why Donald Trump would go anywhere without cameras, but it was a nice offer. It's not like the guy needs to learn anything about civil rights -- he knows everything he needs to know from watching the shows. As he said later the same day as the cancelled photo-op at the museum, in a speech in Kenansville, North Carolina,
We’re going to rebuild our inner cities, because our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before, ever, ever, ever.
Hmm. Maybe he might have picked up a couple of tips on history at the museum after all. What the hell would he have to lose?
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