Donald Trump’s speech in Virginia today was intended to mark the 400th anniversary of Jamestown’s first representative assembly in this hemisphere. But the speech will probably be remembered more for the way Virginia Delegate Ibraheem Samirah disrupted it.
Wow. Trump's speech in Jamestown is interrupted by a protester who repeatedly calls out, "you can't send us back, Virginia is our home!" pic.twitter.com/Ca2GdKg1DH
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 30, 2019
Officers from the Virginia Division of Capitol Police and the Secret Service escorted Samirah out of the speech, and the Secret Service questioned him for about five minutes before he was free to go on his way, says Joe Macenka, a spokesperson for the Capitol Police.
Samirah quickly issued a press release explaining why he interrupted the President: “400 years ago today, a group of undocumented immigrants formed a government to rule this Commonwealth,” it reads in part. “The fact that the racist-in-chief, who so openly stokes hate against immigrants, was even invited to this event was insulting to Virginians and insulting to the history of our Commonwealth’s democracy.”
I just disrupted the @realDonaldTrump speech in Jamestown because nobody's racism and bigotry should be excused for the sake of being polite. The man is unfit for office and unfit to partake in a celebration of democracy, representation, and our nation's history of immigrants. pic.twitter.com/0okD7eRVer
— Delegate Ibraheem Samirah (@IbraheemSamirah) July 30, 2019
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus had already decided to boycott today’s events because organizers invited Trump, who the group said in a press release “continues to make degrading comments toward minority leaders, promulgate policies that harm marginalized communities, and use racist and xenophobic rhetoric.” The caucus organized alternative activities for Tuesday, including a wreath-laying ceremony at the state capitol and a commemoration of the arrival of enslaved people at the site of Lumpkin’s Jail, a holding area for people bought and sold in the domestic slave trade that flourished after trans-Atlantic commerce in forced labor was outlawed. “Those who have chosen to attend [the Jamestown event] and remain silent are complicit in the atrocities that he incites,” the caucus said in a release.
House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox said in a statement that he was “disappointed” by Samirah’s interruption, and that “All Delegates must conduct themselves respectfully, regardless of political differences.”
Samirah represents the 86th District, which includes parts of Loudoun and Fairfax, including Herndon and parts of Chantilly. A dentist, he defeated Republican Gregg Nelson in February to take the seat vacated by Jennifer Boysko, who won Jennifer Wexton‘s old state Senate seat after she was elected to Congress.