The Latest: Celebrating American democracy’s 400th birthday
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on events in Virginia commemorating the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy (all times local):
Commemoration events are underway at historic Jamestown as Virginia celebrates the 400th anniversary of a key milestone in the rise of American democracy.
Lawmakers, Gov. Ralph Northam and other special guests gathered Tuesday morning at a reconstructed church at the site where the New World’s first representative assembly met four centuries ago.
Northam said the ideals of freedom and representative government spread from Jamestown in 1619. But he also noted the first assembly was significant for those not included: women, enslaved Africans and Native Americans.
Northam called that the paradox of Virginia, America and its representative democracy.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak later at a second ceremony.
His participation prompted a pledge by some top Democrats and the Legislative Black Caucus to boycott the events.
President Donald Trump is set to visit historic Jamestown as Virginia commemorates the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy. But black Virginia state lawmakers are boycotting Tuesday’s celebration in part over what they call Trump’s disparaging comments toward minority leaders.
The president’s planned participation in commemorations of the first representative assembly in the Western Hemisphere has been shadowed by the political tensions, with Virginia’s entire Legislative Black Caucus pledging to stay away from Tuesday’s ceremony in protest. The first legislative assembly in Jamestown in 1619 formed the basis of today’s representative system of government in the U.S.
The caucus says Trump tarnishes the celebration because of his “degrading comments toward minority leaders” and “policies that harm marginalized communities.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham responds that the caucus is pushing “a political agenda.”