At least two dozen members of Congress are boycotting Donald Trump’s inauguration

January 17, 2017
In The News

Civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis knows a thing or two about fighting for what’s right, and this week he’s taken another moral stand: refusing to attend the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Speaking to NBC News, the Georgia congressman said, “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president… I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected.”

"I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton," Lewis said.

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) 3:15 PM - 13 Jan 2017

Lewis’ stance earned him a Trump tweet-attack, but he isn’t alone. The congressman is now one of at least two dozen U.S. representatives who have vowed to skip the inauguration as a protest against the incoming president and his policies.

Here’s who has committed to boycotting the event so far. We’ll update this list as it grows:

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Illinois)

For women, for minorities, for Muslims—for justice.

This politician is skipping Trump's inauguration and joining the @WomensMarch:

— Fusion (@Fusion) 9:30 PM - 13 Jan 2017

Illinois’ Luis Gutiérrez was the first congressman to announce he would not attend the inauguration back in December of 2016.

“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,” he recently told the House floor.

Instead, he will attend the Women’s March on Washington.

Representative Katherine Clark (Massachusetts)

Clark, a friend of Lewis, is no stranger to protest. She was the first to suggest a sit-in on the House floor for gun control measures in June — something Republicans are still furious about.

On January 5, Clark tweeted a statement confirming she would not attend Trump’s swearing-in.

“Families in my district are fearful that the anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and divisive promises that drove the Trump campaign will become the policies affecting the health and safety of every American,” she wrote.

“I do not feel that I can contribute to the normalization of the President-elect’s divisive rhetoric by participating in the Inauguration,”

Representative Jared Huffman (California)

On January 7, Huffman wrote in a Facebook post that “it is abundantly clear to me that with Donald Trump as our President, the United States is entering a dark and very dangerous political chapter. I will do everything I can to limit the damage and the duration of this chapter, and I believe we can get through it. But I will not sit passively and politely applaud as it begins.”

He continued: “the way to defeat his dark political agenda is not to sit around complaining and criticizing; it is through active citizenship, principled resistance and positive counteraction.”

Representative Earl Blumenauer (Oregon)

In a Facebook post on January 7, Blumenauer said he wouldn’t attend the presidential inauguration for the first time in his two decades in office.

“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,” he wrote.

“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. It is hard to think of a better use of my time on January 20th.”

Representative Nydia Velazquez (New York)

Velazquez, the former chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress, made her stance clear in a short tweet on January 9:

“I will not be attending inauguration of @realDonaldTrump but WILL participate in the @womensmarch on January 21st.”

Representative Barbara Lee (California)

Longtime progressive congresswoman Lee made her position against Trump clear in a January 12 press release.

“On January 20th, I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House,” she said. “I will be organizing and preparing for resistance.”

Representative Raúl Grijalva (Arizona)

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Grijalva announced on the House floor on January 13 that he would not attend Trump’s inauguration.

“My absence is not motivated by disrespect for the office or motivated by disrespect for the government that we have in this great democracy, but as an individual act — yes, of defiance, at the disrespect shown to millions and millions of Americans by this incoming administration and by the actions we are taking in this Congress,” he said.

Instead, he’ll spend the day meeting with Arizonans and climate change activists.

Representative Lacy Clay (Missouri)

Lacy Clay has been in the headlines recently for hanging a painting in the U.S. Capitol building that calls attention to police brutality against people of color — something that’s infuriated the right and sparked an ongoing confrontation.

He’s also decided to sit out Trump’s big day — he’ll be “back at home in St. Louis speaking to school kids,” his spokesman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on January 13.

Representative Jose Serrano (New York)

Congressional Hispanic Caucus co-chair Serrano, whose district in the South Bronx is one of the few majority-Latinx constituencies in the country, said he would not go to the inauguration in a tweet on January 13.

“I will not attend the #inauguration2017 next week- cannot celebrate the inauguration of a man who has no regard for my constituents,” he wrote.

Representative Mark DeSaulnier (California)

When #Trump places his hand on the Bible & takes the Oath of Office, he will in that moment, be in violation of that oath & the Constitution

— Mark DeSaulnier (@RepDeSaulnier) 9:30 PM - 13 Jan 2017

DeSaulnier outlined his reasoning for sitting out Trump’s inauguration while standing before portraits of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. in a video.

“I have failed to see… a belief in common American decency and a respect of law and a respect of the Constitution (in Donald Trump),” he said. “This President, I believe, when he puts his hand on the Bible… he will be breaking that oath, and breaking the Constitution of the United States during that time that he is being sworn in.”

Representative Kurt Schrader (Oregon)

Schrader told Oregon Public Broadcasting on January 13 that he would not attend Trump’s festivities.

“I’m just not a big Trump fan. I’ve met the guy and never been impressed with him,” he said.

“I’ll do my best to work with him when I think he’s doing the right thing for the country. But he hasn’t proved himself to me at all yet, so I respectfully decline to freeze my ass out there in the cold for this particular ceremony.”

Representative Jerry Nadler (New York)

Nadler won’t be attending the inauguration and will release a statement about it next week, his spokesman told Gothamist.

In response to Trump, Nadler tweeted “@realDonaldTrump stands with V. Putin. I stand with @repjohnlewis” on January 14. Nadler has been an outspoken Trump critic and has published a manual called “How We Resist Trump and His Extreme Agenda.”

Representative Mark Takano (California)

Responding to Trump’s tweets on January 14, Takano tweeted “I stand with @repjohnlewis and I will not be attending the inauguration.”

Takano is the first openly gay Asian American member of Congress.

Representative Yvette Clarke (New York)

In a tweet January 14, Clarke announced, “I will NOT attend the inauguration of @realDonaldTrump. When you insult @repjohnlewis, you insult America.”

Earlier, the Brooklyn congresswoman, who chairs the House Multicultural Media Caucus and co-chairs the Black Women and Girls Caucus, had tweeted “Cowardly @realDonaldTrump isn’t fit to polish hero @repjohnlewis’s boots.”

Representative Ted Lieu (California)

Lieu, a former Air Force Colonel now representing California’s 33rd congressional district, released a statement on January 14 explaining his decision not to attend Trump’s inauguration: “I cannot normalize his behavior or the disparaging and un-American statements he has made.”

Lieu noted Trump’s “racist, sexist, and bigoted statements,” as well as Trump’s attacks on Gold Star parents, veterans, intelligence personnel, and John Lewis. Lieu also said “On January 20, Trump 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.

“For me, the personal decision not to attend Inauguration is quite simple: Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis.”

Representative Adriano Espaillat (New York)

Espaillat, the first Dominican American U.S. congressman elected in 2016, wrote on Facebook on January 14 that he would boycott the inauguration to protest Trump.

“Many have given their lives and dedicated their lives to working to fulfill Dr. King’s dream and make it a reality, and it is up to us to preserve his legacy and the legacy of President Barack Obama to ensure that we do not go back in time!

“President-elect Donald Trump is trying to take us back! And the people Trump is appointing– Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions – are trying to take us back!

“That’s why I am not attending the presidential inauguration. Donald Trump and the hate-filled rhetoric that plagued his election simply will continue in his administration. THIS is not Dr. King’s Dream!”

Representative Judy Chu (California)

Chu, the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress, tweeted on January 14 that she would not attend the inauguration.

“After much thought, I have decided to #StandWithJohnLewis and not attend the inauguration,” she wrote. “I stand with those who have fought for us and encourage future leaders to act with inclusion and respect.”

Representative Pramila Jayapal (Washington)

Jayapal, a progressive civil rights activist from Seattle who recently became the first Indian American woman elected to Congress, confirmed on Twitter that she would not attend Trump’s inauguration.

In a direct reply to Donald Trump on January 14, she wrote “@repjohnlewis stands for best of everything in America. If anyone knows about action not words, it’s him. #ImWithJohn”

Representative John Conyers (Michigan)

Conyers will not attend Trump’s inauguration, his staff confirmed to multiple outlets on January 14.

He is the longest-serving member of Congress, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and was the first to introduce a bill to make Martin Luther King, Jr. Day an official holiday in 1968, 4 days after King’s assassination. That initial effort was defeated, though the holiday was finally signed into federal law in 1983.

Representative Zoe Lofgren (California)

Lofgren, the congresswoman from San Jose who famously called a law professor an “ignorant bigot” for giving transphobic testimony during a House hearing, won’t be attending Trump’s swearing in.

“I acknowledge the fact that he is the incoming president, but I’m not in the mood to celebrate that fact,” she explained to the Los Angeles Times in a story published January 15.

Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (New Jersey)

At a town hall on January 14, Watson Coleman told a crowd of around 150 people she would not attend Trump’s inauguration, reports TAPInto.

“I am very concerned with this administration coming in,” she said. “When this inauguration is taking place, we will pray for our country and the most vulnerable people, and we will pledge to stand together against evil wherever we see it, even if it comes out of the White House.”

Instead, she’ll be joining the Women’s March on New Jersey. “We will stand against any aspect of dismantling of rights for women and anybody else… I can think of no more important place to be than supporting my constituents and renewing my energy to fight for their freedoms.”

Representative Mark Pocan (Wisconsin)

Originally planning to attend Trump’s inauguration, Pocan announced he had changed his mind on January 15 in a Facebook post.

“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. At minimum, it’s time for Donald Trump to start acting like President Trump, not an immature, undignified reality star with questionable friends and a Twitter addiction. I hope for better, but will not hold my breath.”

Pocan is an openly gay former businessman who identifies as a progressive Democrat.

Representative Marcia Fudge (Ohio)

Fudge went on the AM Joy show on January 15 to announce she would boycott the inauguration of Donald Trump. During the interview, she also defended John Lewis against Trump’s attacks. “John Lewis has done more for Atlanta than probably any one single individual,” she said.

Joy also confirmed in a tweet: “I will not be attending #Inauguration. I will be at home in Cleveland. #IStandWithJohnLewis.”