Why These 13 Democrats Are Skipping Donald Trump's Inauguration
A number of Democratic politicians have announced that they will be breaking with long-standing tradition and skipping Donald Trump's inauguration, and the numbers have continued to swell as Jan. 20 approaches. As of this writing, 25 lawmakers have said that they won't attend the swearing in, the highest profile instance being civil right icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis. And while not all have explained their reasoning, some have — ultimately, these Democrats have pretty valid reasons for skipping Trump's inauguration.
The revolt against Trump snowballed after Lewis said on Meet the Press he doesn't consider Trump a "legitimate president," due to the alleged election interference by Russia (Russia has denied interfering in the U.S. elections). Trump lashed out at Lewis on Twitter, insisting that the Georgia congressman should be focusing his efforts on "crime infested inner-cities [sic]." Why Trump thinks Lewis should tackle inner city crime is unclear (other than the fact that Lewis is black, and Trump reflexively associates black people with inner cities).
After Lewis announced that he'll be skipping the inauguration, more Democratic legislators began following his lead. The reasons they gave for skipping the election were all-encompassing, with Democrats citing everything from Trump's lack of "decency" to his relationship with Vladimir Putin to his position on nuclear weapons and the environment. Here's a sampling of the reasons Trump has inspired members of Congress to take the unprecedented step of skipping the inauguration.
1. Rep. John Lewis
"I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton," Lewis said. pic.twitter.com/k6u5gfxRwb— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 13, 2017
"I don't see the President-elect as a legitimate president," Lewis told Chuck Todd. "I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others to help him get elected. That's not right. That's not fair. That's not the open democratic process."
2. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez
Rep. Gutiérrez of Illinois, whose district includes parts of Chicago, took to the House floor on Jan. 10 to explain why he won't be attending Trump's swearing-in. "I could not look my wife, my daughters, or my grandson in the eye if I sat there and attended, as if everything that the candidate said about the women, the Latinos, the blacks, the Muslims, or any of those other things he said in those speeches and tweets, and that all of that is okay or erased from our collective memory," Gutierrez said. Like many of his Democratic colleagues, he will be attending the Women's March the next day instead.
3. Rep. Raúl Grijalva
Rep. Grijalva of Arizona also declared that he would not attend on the House floor:
4. Rep. Jose Serrano
New York Rep. Serrano, whose Bronx district is majority Hispanic, explained his reasons for skipping the inauguration in a tweet.
5. Rep. Barbara Lee
Inauguration should be a celebration. But we have nothing to celebrate on Jan 20. Instead of attending, I will be organizing. pic.twitter.com/P4whhl91ll— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) January 12, 2017
California Rep. Lee wrote in a press release:
Notably, Lee, who represents Berkeley and Oakland, was the only member of Congress to vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force in 2001.
6. Rep. Jared Huffman
Rep. Huffman, another representative from California, wrote in a Facebook post:
7. Rep. Katherine Clark
My statement on the upcoming inauguration: pic.twitter.com/dQXE0ztvTf— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) January 5, 2017
Rep. Clark of Massachusetts wrote in a Twitter post:
8. Rep. Earl Blumenauer
"There is unprecedented concern by my constituents about the many threats posed by a Trump administration seeking to implement the President-elect's policies on health, environment, nuclear weapons, and immigration, to name but a few," the Oregon representative wrote on Facebook.
"I will forgo the inauguration, spending the day instead in my district talking with Oregonians to hear their priorities, try to answer their questions, and prepare for the coming assault on the values and programs we hold dear."
9. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier
Rep. DeSaulnier of California said Trump in a video posted to Twitter:
"The President-elect has had an ongoing attack on what I believe is one of our great strengths, is that most Americans aspire to a common sense of decency, even when we disagree," he continued. "I haven't seen that from the president-elect in any of his capacities."
10. Rep. Jerry Nadler
In a Twitter post, the New York representative implied that he won't be attending the inauguration due to Trump's chummy relationship with the Russian President.
11. Rep. Ted Lieu
Rep. Lieu, who represents part os the Los Angeles metro area, said in a statement:
Lieu also said that when Trump is sworn in, "[he] will be in violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution because of the massive conflicts of interests he has with his global business holdings."
12. Rep. Adriano Espaillat
The first Dominican American in the US House, Adriano Espaillat, filled an auditorium on opening day of Congress. pic.twitter.com/rEUGDTETyR— Suzanne Gamboa (@SuzGamboa) January 3, 2017
Rep. Espaillat of New York, the first Dominican-American member of Congress, wrote in a Facebook post:
13. Rep. Mark Pocan
In a Twitter post, Rep. Pocan of Wisconsin wrote:
Pocan added that Trump should "start acting like President Trump, not an immature, undignified reality star with questionable friends and a Twitter addiction."
This a pretty extensive list — but amazingly, it only encompasses around half of the Democrats who've announced their intent to skip the inauguration. A revolt like this isn't normal, and it demonstrates both the depth of partisanship in American politics and the unique danger that so many Americans believe Trump poses to the country.