WATCH: Trump Speaks at Opening of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

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President Donald Trump honored civil rights heroes and local officials during remarks at the opening of a civil rights museum in Mississippi on Saturday, staying on message despite recent criticisms of his appearance there.

“We want our country to be a place where every child from every background can grow up free from fear, innocent from hatred, and surrounded by love, opportunity and hope,” he said at the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. “Today we pay solemn tribute to our heroes of the past and dedicate ourselves to building a future of freedom, of equality and justice and peace.”

Trump’s remarks were preceded by criticism from civil rights and community leaders, who said Trump shouldn’t have attended because of his White House record.

“He does not deserve to be in Jackson for the celebration of the civil rights museum opening,” civil rights activist Amos Brown, a board member of the NAACP, said at a news conference in the city on Saturday. He slammed Trump for “not showing up for our civil rights” both before and during his presidency.

He continued: “We respect your office but … we do not respect your attitude and your division of the nation.”

Trump spoke for about 10 minutes at the opening, thanking state officials for their support of his presidency and praising civil rights activists, including the late Medgar Evers, for their work.

“Their memories are carved in stone as American heroes. That is what Medgar Evers was, he was a great American hero,” he said. “That is what others honored in this museum were. True American heroes.”

Speakers at a news conference protesting Trump’s visit on Saturday hit the President on his White House record, including his efforts to repeal Obamacare and enact a travel ban, saying his moves contradict the work of the civil rights movement.

Myrlie Evers, the widow of Medgar Evers, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that she was filled with pride in seeing the completed museum, as well as the new Museum of Mississippi History, which opened alongside it. Evers added that she wept when she toured the space. She did not mention Trump’s appearance.

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SOURCE: CNN; MSNBC