Virginia delegate disrupts Trump speech at Jamestown

Published: Jul. 30, 2019 at 12:37 PM EDT
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A Virginia state delegate disrupted President Donald Trump's speech at an event in historic Jamestown commemorating the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy.

Del. Ibraheem Samirah stood up and held up signs that read "deport hate" and "reunite my family." A third message said "go back to your corrupted home."

He briefly interrupted the president's speech, shouting, “Mr. President, you can’t send us back, Virginia is our home!”

The man was led out of the speech site as some members of the crowd chanted "Trump, Trump, Trump."

Trump's appearance in Jamestown prompted black state legislators to boycott the event, citing his recent disparaging comments about minority leaders.

Shortly after the incident, Samirah admitted on Twitter that the person interrupting the speech was him, saying Trump is “unfit for office and unfit to partake in a celebration of democracy, representation, and our nation’s history of immigrants.”

Samirah is a representative of Virginia’s 86th District and is the “youngest Virginia State Delegate and youngest American Muslim legislator anywhere,” according to his Twitter profile.

The president did not address Samirah and continued with his speech, in which he said it August 1619, when the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia, "was the beginning of a barbaric trade in human lives."

"We remember every sacred soul who suffered the horrors of slavery and the anguish of bondage," Trump said.

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox issued a statement soon afterward about the incident, saying "I am disappointed by Delegate Ibraheem Samirah’s disrespectful outburst during the President’s remarks. It was not only inconsistent with common decency, it was also a violation of the rules of the House. Members of the House of Delegates are part of a lineage that goes back 400 years. All Delegates must conduct themselves respectfully, regardless of political differences. It’s a custom and practice dating back to the first meeting, which we are celebrating today.”

The Republican Party of Virginia took a considerably harsher stance, labeling Samirah anti-Semitic, sharing a series of Facebook posts from his profile in 2014 about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and saying "Delegate Samirah's outburst was nothing more than childish frustration over Hillary Clinton's loss. If the Democrats wanted someone to protest this historic, bipartisan event, maybe they should not have picked an anti-Semite. Ibraheem Samirah is a disgrace to Virginia and should resign."