- - Sunday, August 4, 2019

It once was said that partisan differences ended at the water’s edge. Jamestown, Virginia, the site of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, dating back to 1607, is on the coast, but that water’s-edge constraint was thrown overboard last week by Virginia Democrats.

Beset by Trump Derangement Syndrome, many elected Virginia Democrats shamefully refused last week to attend a 400th-anniversary event marking the 1619 founding of the country’s first representative government in the Colonies, the Virginia House of Burgesses.

Why? For no other reason than the fact that President Trump was invited to speak at the ceremonies. That was a bridge too far, it seems, for Democrats, who while claiming to be champions for tolerance vividly demonstrated precisely the opposite.


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Not content to simply boycott the event, state Delegate Ibraheem Samirah, Fairfax Democrat, rudely interrupted Mr. Trump’s speech, shouting, “Virginia is our home! You can’t send me back.” After being escorted out by police, Mr. Samirah, a Palestinian-American whose parents were refugees, bragged about his boorish behavior on social media and later on MSNBC.

Mr. Samirah’s fellow Virginia Democrats didn’t publicly chastise his defenestration of decorum, however. They directed their ire instead at Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for inviting the president in the first place.



The bipartisan invitation had been extended to the president nearly a year earlier in a letter dated last Aug. 16 and was co-signed by state Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment Jr., Republican, James City; and House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, Republican, Colonial Heights.

In a show of bipartisanship all around, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, was also invited to the multi-day commemoration of the Jamestown quadricentennial that was coordinated by American Evolution, a public-private partnership created by the Virginia General Assembly.

That wasn’t sufficient antidote, however, for the poisonous partisanship of state Senate Minority Leader Richard Saslaw and state House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, both Fairfax Democrats. They vowed to boycott any parts of the ceremonies attended by Mr. Trump.

“The current president does not represent the values that we would celebrate at the 400th anniversary of the oldest democratic body in the Western world,” Mr. Saslaw and Mrs. Filler-Corn explained in a joint statement.

Mr. Samirah apparently does represent their cockeyed values, however, because Mrs. Filler-Corn insisted Wednesday her caucus would not reprimand him. “There’s no sanctions,” she said, adding he wasn’t wrong to stand up to Mr. Trump.

Virginia’s Democratic U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine reportedly also joined in this shameful partisanship by signing the invitation to Mrs. Pelosi, but not the one for Mr. Trump.

That sort of gratuitous hyperpartisanship could have — and should have — been shelved for one day for the celebration of the foundation of American government. There’s a time and a place for political protests, but the Jamestown event was neither the time nor the place.

Whether you like Mr. Trump or not, it goes without saying that the president, as the top elected official in the nation, should be on hand for an event of such historical significance.

In stark contrast, there were no reports of Virginia Republicans publicly suggesting that Mrs. Pelosi should not have been invited, much less that they would have stayed away if she were there. Indeed, the California Democrat was invited twice — not only by Mr. Northam, Mr. Norment and Mr. Cox, but also separately by Virginia’s bipartisan congressional delegation.

Mrs. Pelosi wasn’t able to attend, but not because of any grandstanding boycott, her spokesman said, but because of a scheduling conflict.

Still, a spokeswoman for Mr. Northam couldn’t resist piling on in the petty partisanship. Alena Yarmosky opined that it was “ironic the president would attend, given his recent attacks on immigrants,” contending that Jamestown embodied how immigrants built America.

(In typical Democratic fashion, Ms. Yarmosky disingenuously failed to distinguish between legal immigrants and illegal aliens. It’s the latter that Mr. Trump has been “attacking,” and properly so, in his responsibility for enforcing the nation’s law.)

Mr. Northam also spoke at the event, but curiously, no Democrats boycotted his speech, despite the racist medical school yearbook photo scandal that nearly forced him out of office.

Many of those same Virginia Democrats also still appear with Mr. Northam at other state functions, and some of them gladly accept campaign contributions from his political action committee.

National Review reported Thursday that Mr. Northam’s PAC, The Way Ahead, donated $21,000 to the state House Democratic Caucus the day before.

If it weren’t for double standards, these Democrats would have no standards at all.

A cooler head prevailing, Mr. Norment put the matter in proper perspective. “Sharing the views of the leader holding an elective office,” he said, “is not a prerequisite for showing respect for the office.”

That’s a distinction with a difference, and one that Democrats, in Virginia and elsewhere, would do well to heed.

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