At Least 19 Democratic Congress Members Plan to Skip Inauguration

January 17, 2017
In The News

At least 19 Democratic members of Congress have announced that they will not attend Donald Trump's inauguration. While some made their decision in earlier weeks, several have come forward today, citing the president-elect's insult of Rep. John Lewis as the final straw.

Trump lashed out at the civil rights icon after Lewis said he didn't view Trump as "a legitimate president." Lewis also said he would not attend the inauguration.

"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," Trump tweeted Saturday morning. " All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!"

Trump's comments have drawn outrage and messages of support for Lewis from both sides of the aisle. Rep. Yvette Clark, D-New York, said in a tweet that she would not attend the inauguration because of the comments, saying "when you insult [John Lewis], you insult America."

I will NOT attend the inauguration of @realDonaldTrump. When you insult @repjohnlewis, you insult America.

— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) 3:49 PM - 14 Jan 2017 · Brooklyn, NY

Reps. Mark Takano and Judy Chu, both D-California also tweeted that they would be absent as a show of solidarity with Lewis.

"All talk, no action."

I stand with @repjohnlewis and I will not be attending the inauguration.

— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) 11:25 AM - 14 Jan 2017

After much thought, I have decided to #StandWithJohnLewis and not attend the inauguration.

— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) 7:57 PM - 14 Jan 2017

In a statement, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-California, wrote that "while [he does] not dispute that Trump won the Electoral College, [he] cannot normalize his behavior or the disparaging and un-American statements he has made."

"Trump -- who lost the popular vote -- has made a series of racist, sexist and bigoted statements," Lieu continued. "In addition, he has attacked Gold Star parents, veterans such as John McCain and now civil rights icon John Lewis."

Wisconsin Democrat Mark Pocan reflected these sentiments in a statement released Sunday morning.

"I was planning on attending the Inauguration on Friday out of respect for the office of President, while still making it back home on Saturday to attend the Women's March in Madison," he said. "However, after long consideration based on reading the Classified document on Russian hacking and the Trump candidacy on Thursday, the handling of his conflicts of interest, and this weekend's offensive tweets about a national hero Rep. John Lewis, I am no longer attending the event."

Reps. Mark DeSaulnier, D-California, and John Conyers, D-Michigan, did not explicitly mention Lewis in their announcements, but did go public with their decisions on the day of Trump's tweets.

Among those who made up their mind to skip earlier in January, the most common reason is an aversion to "normalizing" what they see as Trump's divisive rhetoric and agenda.

"When the new President denigrates Latinos or Mexicans or immigrants as drug-dealers and criminals, I want to be able to say I did not condone or allow that type of speech to go mainstream; That was not normalized on my watch," Rep Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, said in part in a speech on the House floor. "Because the future President said the American-born children of immigrants were not capable of being American judges, I cannot sit there at his inauguration as if that is OK and I forgive him."

Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Massachusetts, said on Twitter that she didn't feel that she could "contribute to the normalization of the President-elect’s divisive rhetoric by participating in the inauguration."

My statement on the upcoming inauguration:

— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) 6:50 PM - 5 Jan 2017 · Washington, DC

Several of the Congress members plan to attend the Women's March on Washington; others said they will do community organizing in their home districts.

The Trump transition team did not respond to a request for comment.

Below is the full running list of Congress members not attending the inauguration:

  • Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-AZ
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-CA
  • Rep. Ted Lieu, D-CA
  • Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA
  • Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA
  • Rep. Mark Takano, D-CA
  • Rep. Jared Huffman, D-CA
  • Rep. Barbara Lee, D-CA
  • Rep. John Lewis, D-GA
  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-IL
  • Rep. Katherine Clark, D-MA
  • Rep. John Conyers, D-MI
  • Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-MO
  • Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-NY
  • Rep. Jose Serrano, D-NY
  • Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-NY
  • Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-OH
  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR
  • Rep. Mark Pocan, D-WI