RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT/AP) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has resigned from the Jamestown anniversary planning committee over an invitation it issued to President Donald Trump.
“A president who labels those disagree with him as un-American and ignorantly advocates for duly elected congresswomen, all United States citizens of color, to be sent back to their countries of origin has no place at this commemorative gathering in our commonwealth this weekend,” Stoney said in a resignation letter.
The letter was addressed to American Evolution 2019 Commemoration executive director Kathy Spangler.
Trump came under fire after tweeting that congresswomen should “go back” to the countries they originally came from when. The tweets were widely condemned as racist because the congresswomen he targeted are all people of color and American citizens, and only one of them was not born in the United States.
The July 30 event is to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the House of Burgesses, the first representative assembly in the New World.
It is part of a weeklong observance of the state's colonial past, which also will mark the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans' arrival in Virginia.
The Associated Press reported that Virginia Democrats threatened to boycott the event over Trump’s inclusion.
"We will not be attending any part of the commemorative session where Donald Trump is in attendance," said a statement by the leadership of the Virginia House and Senate Democratic Caucuses. "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."
Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, a Republican, said it's sad when elected leaders "make partisan concerns paramount in their decisions." He described the decision by leading Democrats in the state to boycott the event as "disappointing and embarrassing."
American Evolution, the organization that is putting the Jamestown commemoration together, released a statement Saturday noting that Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were invited last year by Northam, a Democrat, House Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican, and Norment.
The White House has not confirmed whether Trump will attend.
In the letter, Stoney said, “I cannot and will not play a role in hosting a president ... who denigrates out democracy ...."