COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— Two days after former president Donald Trump was indicted with federal charges, he flew into Columbus to speak to delegates and supporters from across the state of Georgia.
Several hours before his speech, leaders from local and state levels of the NAACP spoke out against Donald Trump’s appearance in the Fountain City.
“On behalf of the 3.3 million black people and all of the people of color in this state, we have one message for Donald Trump. Get out of Georgia,” Georgia State NAACP President Gerald Griggs said.
The 37-count indictment accuses the former president, and current presidential candidate, of mishandling classified documents. Some of which were marked ‘top secret,’ with information relating to nuclear weapons and military planning.
“We speak up on behalf of people of color around this state who believe that is important, that people have good moral values, that individuals abide by the law, that individuals do not incite violence, that individuals do not keep sensitive government documents in bathrooms,” Griggs said.
Members of the local, state, and national board of the NAACP joined together on the steps of the Government Center just hours ahead of Trump’s speech, condemning city leaders for allowing the former president to address Columbus, and the state of Georgia.
“Let’s be clear we are not talking politics. We are talking about character. By allowing Trump an individual under indictment with questionable character to speak at a community event sends a message that the community tolerates and even condones unhealthy behaviors and unethical actions,” Columbus NAACP President Wane Hailes said. “We have to stand strong and stand up and say for our African-American community, we are 48% of this community. So, we are saying that this is not right and that we do not condone his behavior or the fact that he’s coming to our community.”
The NAACP believes by allowing the former president to speak freely, city leaders are placing economic benefits above morality and ethics.
“Are we a city that really wants to embrace persons who have a lack of character, a person who has actually shown a lack of integrity, a person who has basically shown a lack of honesty throughout this country?” President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance Rev. J. H. Flakes, III asked. “Is that what we truly want to be associated with, Columbus?”
Trump plead not guilty to 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records to conceal a hush money payment to an adult entertainment star earlier this year.
“An individual that has now suffered a civil verdict for sexual assault is not welcome in Georgia,” Griggs said. “And an individual that potentially is a threat to our national security is not welcome in Georgia.”
Now he is facing an additional 37 federal criminal charges of mishandling classified documents after he left office.
“Those are very serious allegations,” Griggs said. “We should take a step back, allow the criminal justice process to play itself out and not invite somebody on a political podium to speak to the people of Georgia.”
While Trump has not been convicted of any wrongdoing thus far, members still believe allowing his presence will have lasting negative impacts on the community.
“We must stand up and have the courage to bring this to the forefront, to raise the awareness so that our children do not get the mixed message that it’s okay to incite violence when we are reeling and rocking within our own city with crime,” Rev. Flakes said.
Griggs says he believes the Fulton County District Attorney will be speaking soon on the investigation into Trump’s alleged efforts to undermine the presidential election in 2020.
Trump is the first former president to be facing criminal charges.