Virginia delegate and dentist Ibraheem Samirah (D-86th)--who currently represents parts of both Loudoun and Fairfax counties in a district represented by Republican Delegate Tom Rust from 2002 to 2016--interrupted Republican President Donald Trump’s speech in Jamestown on July 30 to protest Trump’s presence at the event.
Trump was speaking at the 400th Anniversary of the America's First Representative Legislative Assembly, but the president was stopped by Samirah a few minutes into his speech.
“I disrupted the President's speech in Jamestown because nobody's racism and bigotry should be excused for the sake of being polite,” Samirah said in a prepared statement. “The man is unfit for office and unfit to partake in a celebration of democracy, representation, and our nation's history of immigrants…”
Samirah, who represents parts of eastern Loudoun and western Fairfax counties, held up signs that read “deport hate” and “reunite my family." A third message said “go back to your corrupted home.”
Samirah was then escorted out by security as members of the crowd chanted, “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Jack Wilson later called Samirah's actions a disgrace to Virginia. "Delegate Samirah's outburst was nothing more than childish frustration over Hillary Clinton's loss," Wilson said in a message to the Times-Mirror. "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."
In February, Samirah apologized for making what could be considered anti-Semitic remarks on social media five years ago. The remarks surfaced shortly after his nomination. In a pair of now-deleted Facebook posts, the first-generation American and second-generation Palestinian agreed with a comment originally made by musician Brian Eno that “sending money to Israel is like sending money to the [Ku Klux] Klan” and then wrote “I’d say worse, but I’ll go along with Eno on this one.”
He also wrote that former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon should “burn a million times for every innocent soul you killed.” And that he wished the same for “our beloved Arab ‘leaders’ (butchers I should say).”
He later apologized for the comments, citing exposure to early cultural biases during his upbringing, and downplaying the comments as youthful indiscretions brought up by his detractors as part of a “smear campaign.”
Samirah's protest in Jamestown came just after the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus announcement the previous day that it was boycotting the president's visit to the ceremony.
“The VLBC has always served as a voice for the values and issues of Black Virginians and other underrepresented groups in the Commonwealth,” the VLBC said in a prepared statement. “The participation of the President is antithetical to the principles for which the caucus stands and the democracy that many counter-intuitively are clinging to as an excuse to attend this week.”
Trump, while criticizing Fox News for its coverage of Samirah's outburst, said, "The protester didn't look so good to me. I'm going to be very nice."
Samirah said in response via Twitter, "What about me 'didn't look so good?' I wore my favorite bowtie."
State Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-33rd) -- who preceded Samirah in the 86th House District -- and local Dels. David LaRock (R-33rd), David Reid (D-32nd) and Wendy Gooditis (D-10th) were among the lawmakers present at the event.
Samirah, who was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates via a special election in February, is running unopposed for re-election in November.