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The Latest: Black Virginia lawmakers slam Trump comments

JAMESTOWN, Va. (AP) — The Latest on events in Virginia commemorating the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy (all times local): 1:25 p.m. Black lawmakers in Virginia who boycotted a visit by President Donald Trump are blasting Trump for his recent disparaging remarks about minority members of Congress.

During an emotional ceremony at a Richmond site where a notorious slave jail once stood, members of Virginia's legislative black caucus took turns criticizing Trump as the president spoke about 60 miles away in historic Jamestown.

Lawmakers who spoke at the Lumpkin's Slave Jail site said they chose to boycott Trump's speech commemorating the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the New World so that they could mark another 400th anniversary. The first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619.

Del. Delores McQuinn refused to use Trump's name and instead called him "the tenant in the White House." McQuinn choked back tears as she said Trump's criticism of minority members of Congress was also aimed at "every person of color in the United States of America."

1:15 p.m.

A Democratic Virginia state lawmaker says he disrupted President Donald Trump's address at a historic commemoration to protest the president's rhetoric and policies.

Del. Ibraheem Samirah stood as Trump was speaking Tuesday at a commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the New World. Samirah held up signs that read "deport hate" and "reunite my family." A third message said "go back to your corrupted home."

Samirah was led away as some members of the crowd chanted "Trump, Trump, Trump."

Samirah won a special election earlier this year to represent a northern Virginia district.

He said in a statement that he was confident his constituents would rather him protest than "passively accept" Trump's presence.

Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox said he was disappointed by the outburst. He called it "inconsistent with common decency and a violation of the rules of the House."

12:11 p.m.

A heckler disrupted President Donald Trump's speech at an event in historic Jamestown, Virginia commemorating the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy.

The person stood up and held up signs that read "deport hate" and "reunite my family." A third message said "go back to your corrupted 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.

12:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is remarking on the "horrors of slavery" as he commemorates the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the New World.

Trump says it was in August 1619 that the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia. He says "it was the beginning of a barbaric trade in human lives."

Trump says "we remember every sacred soul who suffered the horrors of slavery and the anguish of bondage."

Trump is speaking even as black state lawmakers have stayed away, in part over what they call Trump's disparaging comments about minority leaders.

Before the speech, Trump also tweeted that Virginia Democrats want to make the event "as uncomfortable as possible, but that's ok because today is not about them!"

11:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump is offering congratulations to Virginians and their legislators on "four incredible centuries of history, heritage and commitment to the righteous cause of American self-government."

Trump is participating in the Jamestown commemoration Tuesday marking the first representative assembly in the Western Hemisphere.

Trump says "this is truly a momentous occasion."

Some black state lawmakers are boycotting the event over what they call Trump's disparaging comments about minority leaders.

10:35 a.m.

Members of Virginia's legislative black caucus have placed a wreath honoring deceased black lawmakers as part of a boycott of President Donald Trump's visit to historic Jamestown.

Nearly a dozen black lawmakers joined for a wreath-laying ceremony at Virginia's State Capitol Tuesday. It was one of several activities planned as an alternative to Trump's visit to mark the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the New World.

The wreath was placed below two plaques commemorating African American lawmakers who served in the Virginia House of Delegates between 1869 and 1890.

Del. Lamont Bagby said the lawmakers chose to boycott Trump's appearance in Jamestown because they want to reflect on the good, the bad and "the ugly" of the last 400 years, including slavery.

The lawmakers also plan to hold a ceremony at the Lumpkin's Slave Jail site in Richmond, where slaves were imprisoned and sold.

10:25 a.m.

Several dozen protesters have gathered outside a historic site in Virginia where President Donald Trump is set to take part in a ceremony marking the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy.

The protesters in historic Jamestown held signs and chanted slogans including, "Love not hate makes America great."

Among them was 47-year-old Sonya Hull of Williamsburg. Hull said she was protesting because she has concerns about the integrity of U.S. elections.

She says: "I'd like to see the United States act the way it reads on paper."

Several men gathered on a nearby street corner in support of Trump, who was scheduled to arrive later Tuesday morning.

Some Democratic lawmakers have pledged to boycott the celebrations because of the president's participation.

10:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump says black legislators who plan to boycott his appearance at a Virginia event commemorating the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy are going "against their own people."

Trump says African Americans "love the job" he's doing and are "happy as hell" with his recent comments criticizing a majority black district in the Baltimore area and its congressman.

Trump spoke at the White House before heading to historic Jamestown in Virginia.

Black state lawmakers plan to stay away from Trump's speech, in part over what they call Trump's disparaging comments about minority leaders.

Trump said if that's the case, "they're fighting against their people" because African Americans "have never been so happy with what a president has done."

Trump also tweeted that Virginia Democrats want to make the event "as uncomfortable as possible, but that's ok because today is not about them!"

8:30 a.m.

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.

1 a.m.

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."

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