Recently President Donald Trump ventured to the site of Jamestown, Virginia, the site of the first successful English colony in North America. He gave a speech there to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the first popularly elected legislative body in what was then called the New World.
Trump’s speech was one of his inspirational ones, noting the hardships that the English settlers endured for the first few years and how the colony almost died out. He noted the system of government that the inhabitants of Jamestown established, with a judiciary and a system of rights to be respected as well as the legislature, comprising 22 men, called the House of Burgesses.
Trump did not avoid mentioning that 1619 was also the year that the first African slaves were brought to Virginia, ushering in almost 250 years of the barbaric practice of human bondage. The president ran down the history of the oppression of African Americans, leading to the end of officially sanctioned racism with the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the mid-1960s.
Amid the speech, President Trump and the audience had to endure an interruption.
Fox News explains:
“Ibraheem Samirah, a Virginia state delegate, interrupted Trump’s event commemorating the 400th anniversary of the first legislative assembly in the U.S. by shouting: ‘You can’t send us back! Virginia is our home!’
“Samirah’s protest was apparently in response to Trump’s comments about the ‘Squad’ earlier this month when he suggested that Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., should ‘go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came,’ and then return to show how it’s done.”
Trump’s speech had already featured a boycott of African American Virginia lawmakers who were miffed by the president’s remarks, widely misinterpreted as being racist. Samirah, a Palestinian American, held up a sign for a minute before being escorted from the venue by security while the audience jeered him.
It turns out, that Samirah is not in any position to point fingers at other people for the sin of bigotry. Samirah has some strong feelings about the State of Israel, perhaps having to do with the fact that he used to be a volunteer for Rashida Tlaib, another Palestinian American and part of the so-called “Squad” of four radical female House members. Tlaib has also had some caustic things to say about Israel and Jews.
Fox News explains:
“In one Facebook post in 2014, Samirah shared an angry letter by musician Brian Eno who claimed that funding Israel was like supporting the Ku Klux Klan.
“I’d say worse,” Samirah wrote, sharing the letter. ‘But I’ll go along with Eno on this one.’
“In another post from 2014, after former Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died, Samirah wrote: ‘Ariel Sharon, burn. Burn a million times for every innocent soul you killed. Hell is excited to have you.’
“Samirah also reportedly posted comments about Israeli teenagers, sharing an article about how Israel uses social media and dating apps to ‘legitimize murder,’ writing: ‘Most Israeli teenagers not only want to cover up the murders in their name, but they have young urges that need to be released somehow! Tinder’s perfect for that.’
“Samirah, who was a former volunteer for Tlaib, also is reportedly connected to multiple anti-Semitic organizations.”
Trump, for his part, was calm and unflappable as Samirah was marched out. Then, with hardly skipping a beat, he concluded his address. He mentioned such great Virginians as George Washington. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Richard Henry Lee founding fathers all. He noted that the seed of democracy that was planted in Jamestown took root and spread so that it caused the founding of the United States in 1776 and then encompassed the entire continent.
The president ended his address with a full-throated description of American exceptionalism, from the Revolution to the first landing of men on the moon. He even managed to slip in a mention of the Artemis deep space exploration program, which will, in due course, plant the American flag on the surface of Mars.
However, Samirah did accomplish one thing. Most of the media accounts of Trump’s speech focused on his disruption and not the inspirational eloquence of what the president had to say.
Trump’s mention of the speech on Twitter was short, to the point, and did not mention Samirah’s disruption:
“Great reception in Jamestown by both REPUBLICANS & DEMOCRATS. Respect for our Country’s incredible Heritage. Thank you!”