This story has been updated
It only happens every four years, and regardless of who wins, history is being made. Yet, some members of Congress will be sitting out Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday. There are over twenty names, as of today, who have said they will not be attending the inauguration, an event typically attended by all members of Congress.
The Daily Caller reports:
The number of Democratic lawmakers boycotting President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration has increased to 20, according to a Monday report from Fox News.
The most recent dropouts came as a result of the spat Trump had with Rep. John Lewis over the weekend on Twitter, according to Rep. Ted Lieu of California.
“For me, the personal decision not to attend [the] inauguration is quite simple: Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis,” Lieu said in a prepared statement.
Lewis called Trump’s win “illegitimate,” in an interview with NBC News Friday, a move that prompted Trump to fire back a response on Twitter. “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!” Trump wrote in a pair of tweets early Saturday morning.
Here’s a list of the first twenty names, also from the Daily Caller:
Lieu and Lewis joined Democratic Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Katherine Clark, John Conyers, Primila Jayapal, Jared Huffman, Mark DeSaulnier, Lacy Clay, Earl Blumenauer, Adam Smith, Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, Kurt Schrader, Jose Serrano, Nydia Velazquez, Mark Takano, Yvette Clarke, Judy Chu, Jerry Nadler, and Adriano Espaillat.
At least two more Democrats not on that list have also made the decision to not attend:
U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., and U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., said they will not be attending the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump due to tweets by Trump in response to Rep. John Lewis.
In a Facebook post, Brown said, “The march on Bloody Sunday, led by John Lewis who humbly carries the indelible physical and emotional scars of that day and that era, resulted in finally passing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And Congressman Lewis has been fighting for civil and human rights ever since. Because of his actions as a Civil Rights hero, John Lewis received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Navy ship was recently named the USNS John Lewis.
On Twitter, Beyer said he would not “be part of normalizing or legitimizing a man whose election may well have depended on the malicious foreign interference of Russia’s leaders…”
“(Trump’s) values and his actions are the antitheses of those I hold dear,” Beyer said. “It would be the height of hypocrisy for me to pretend to be part of this inaugural celebration.”
To be fair, most if not all of the representatives skipping the inauguration are doing so as a protest against the exchange between Rep. John Lewis and President-elect Trump over Lewis’ statement that Trump was not legitimately elected.
I did some searching for the 2008 election, but I could not find any stories of a concerted boycott effort on the part of the GOP skip the inauguration. I’m sure there is historical precedent as politics can be a bitter sport.
The Washington Post now says the number is over forty:
A growing group of Democratic lawmakers will boycott President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday as a protest of Trump’s worldview and his criticism of civil rights icon John Lewis, congressman of Georgia
There are now more than 40 House Democrats — 44, at last count — who have declared that they will not attend the inauguration on Capitol Hill this week. The number rose sharply after Trump tweeted Saturday that Lewis is “all talk, talk, talk” and should “finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities.”
Check the whole story for the complete list gathered from tweets and news bits in recent days.
The Washington Post has updated their story a few times. The count is now nearly 60 Democratic members of the House who say they will not be attending the swearing-in of Donald Trump:
There are now nearly 60 House Democrats — 59, at last count — who have declared that they will not attend the inauguration on Capitol Hill this week. The number rose sharply after Trump tweeted Saturday that Lewis (D) is “all talk, talk, talk” and should “finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities.”
I’m not sure this is a winning strategy to start off a new administration sending this kind of signal. House Democrats are already in the minority position and will be clawing for any influence they can get when it comes to legislation being pushed by Speaker Paul Ryan and the new Trump administration.
It’s noteworthy that not a single Democratic Senator is joining any of the House members in this boycott.