The CEO and CFO of the museum, John Swaine, said Trump wanted to reserve the space for five hours or more, bring his own personal tour guide and use the time for media coverage.
“Based upon our mission and our vision we would never use the museum as a prop for anyone’s ideology, it’s just not what we do,” he said. “This is a very important landmark.”
Swaine said since Sept. 26, museum staffers have received derogatory, life-threatening phone calls and emails from Trump supporters.
“I do believe the Trump campaign is comprehensively opposed to the work we do at this museum,” he said. “He would never be in support of our beliefs, when we talk about non-violence, equal justice, housing discrimination — those are things we want to educate the world about.”
Swaine said on Sept. 26 a man entered the museum with a loaded weapon. His intent was never disclosed.
“Our politicians have a greater responsibility to everyone and not just to a narrow segment of our population; we shouldn’t do things that will inflame their illnesses,” said Swaine. “Racism is an illness and when people are confronted with racism they have a tendency to have blinders on and are not focused.”
Tanner Glenn, campaign manager for Rich Nixon’s State House campaign in Johnston, said the museum director made the right decision.
“I think it only goes to demonstrate the pattern of disrespect from not only Trump but also his campaign,” he said.
Dave Miranda, spokesperson for the N.C. Democratic Party, declined to comment on the incident, but did comment on Trump’s overall campaign.
“(Trump faces) the same challenges he faces everywhere — he’s a candidate who has zero experience, he lacks temperament and has an economic plan that would sink us into recession,” he said.
Trump had permission to go into the museum as a private citizen and to go on a private tour with one of the museum-provided tour guides, Swaine said.
“We welcome people from all over the world — Trump was welcome to come in, go on a tour and learn about the struggle for freedom in this country,” he said. “He just wanted to have pictures of himself.”
The museum has continued to receive support in spite of the harassing phone calls and emails, he said.
When reached, the Trump campaign declined to comment.