Friday, December 1, 2023

Here’s why this Virginia delegate protested Trump’s presence at Jamestown

A protester interrupted Trump's speech at Jamestown Thursday before being escorted out of the tent. (WYDaily/Alexa Doiron)
Del. Ibraheem Samirah, D-86th District interrupted  Trump’s speech at Jamestown Thursday before being escorted out of the tent. (WYDaily/Alexa Doiron)

A Virginia state delegate protested President Donald Trump’s presence during the 400th anniversary of the country’s first representative assembly at the Jamestown Settlement Tuesday.

And he did so while the president was speaking.

“I think it’s loud and clear hate has no home here in Virginia,” said Del. Ibraheem Samirah, D-86th District.

RELATED STORY: ‘Our beloved republic is the envy of the entire world’: Trump visits Jamestown

In a series of tweets following the protest, Samirah, also a Muslim dentist, posted to social media about his reasons for protesting.

“Just a few weeks ago, Trump told four duly elected congresswoman to go home,” Samirah said in a phone interview with WYDaily, adding the “values of democracy has never been at risk” and there is “one person at the center of it.”

Samirah said he felt Trump’s presence at the commemoration was a “dirty cover-up” and the “usage of opportunity” to further Trump’s agenda like the Fourth of July celebration.

“[Jamestown] is essentially illegal immigrants coming to the United States and pursuing life, a better life than what they had and where they came from -– England,” Samirah said.

Samirah said protest was planned to not disrupt the main programming of the commemoration event and the Democratic caucuses had a group discussion as to how to go about protesting Trump’s speech.

“As far as my colleagues, we all agreed before going on we all would act on our uniqueness and our own voice,” Samirah said. “We coordinated it making sure to push back [against Trump’s visit].”

In addition, Samirah said there is “systemic discrimination in the words” as well as the “policies of the current president.”

RELATED STORY: IN PHOTOS: Donald Trump speaks of American heritage, birth of democracy in the New World

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican, issued this statement:

“I am disappointed by Delegate Ibraheem Samirah’s disrespectful outburst during the President’s remarks. It was not only inconsistent with common decency, it was also a violation of the rules of the House. Members of the House of Delegates are part of a lineage that goes back 400 years. All Delegates must conduct themselves respectfully, regardless of political differences. It’s a custom and practice dating back to the first meeting, which we are celebrating today.”

Samirah said he was not charged following the incident and while he has read Cox’s statement, he has not had any contact with him.

“I didn’t violate any rules if any I was upholding the rules of free speech in the Constitution and also decorum,” he said. “At the end of the day this was an expression of my voice. There is systemic discrimination in the words as well as the policies of the president.”

When asked about his supposed anti-semitic posts on his Facebook page from five years ago, Samirah would not elaborate on what he originally wrote or why he chose to delete the posts, stating he already sent out “multiple statements” to news outlets.

WYDaily informed Samirah WYDaily did not receive any statement from his office about the comments and Samriah replied he would send a copy.

He has yet to do so.

Gov. Ralph Northam did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Lauren Burke, spokeswoman for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, said she would email WYDaily a statement. She has yet to do so.

The Virginia Democratic Caucus would not comment on Samirah’s demonstration.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

Related Articles