Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) announced last week that they would not attend Donald Trump's inauguration. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) also said he would skip the event, noting that he does not see Trump as "a legitimate president." After Trump lashed out at Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement, roughly 1 in 4 Democrats in the House have now pledged to skip the inauguration.
On January 8th, Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Katherine Clark (D-MA) both announced that they would not be attending Donald Trump’s inauguration. Gutierrez said he “could not look at my wife, my daughters, or my grandson in the eye” if he attended. And Clark commented that, after many discussions with her constituents, she did not want to “contribute to the normalization of the president-elect’s divisive rhetoric by participating in the inauguration.”
California Democratic Representative Barbara Lee announced later that week that she would also not attend the inauguration. “On January 20th, I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia, and bigotry to the White House,” Lee said, adding that, instead of celebrating, she “will be organizing and preparing for resistance.”
The next day, Representative John Lewis (D-GA) also stated his intention to skip the event in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd. “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis said, citing Russian interference in the election.
Trump, in his typically petulant fashion, could not let Lewis’ widely-reported comments go. Instead, Trump chose to crudely lash out at the civil rights icon on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, tweeting that Lewis was “all talk talk talk — no action.”
That abhorrent attack was immediately met with resounding condemnation from Democrats. And now, following the lead of Clark, Gutierrez, Lee, and Lewis, many other House Democrats — nearly 1 in 4, many of them members of the Congressional Black Caucus — have joined the movement to boycott the inauguration.
I will not celebrate a man who preaches a politics of division and hate. I won't be attending Donald Trump's inauguration.
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) January 16, 2017
I never ever contemplated attending the inauguration or any activities associated w/ @realDonaldTrump. I wouldn't waste my time.
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) January 15, 2017
— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) January 14, 2017
A common thread among many Democrats’ announcements to boycott is the desire to show solidarity with Lewis against Trump’s repugnant attacks. That is: Trump brought it on himself.
Trump's #InaugurationBoycott wound has been entirely self-inflicted.
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 17, 2017
Trump now has over 50 members of Congress refusing to watch him be sworn in as President, a number that may continue to grow over the next few days.
A man who was interested in unifying the nation and modeling good governance would take a lesson from this act of resistance. Unfortunately, Trump is not that sort of man.