Members Of Congress Boycotting Inauguration Have DOUBLED In Number

From Sunday until Tuesday, members of Congress have been signing onto a boycott of Donald Trump’s inauguration in droves. On Sunday, the number stood at 25. At this writing, the number stands at 59 U.S. Representatives — and that could well be an outdated figure by the time you read this.

That total is well over 13 percent of the House of Representatives. As reported just yesterday by Exposé Today, the snowball got rolling over Trump’s attack on civil rights icon John Lewis, Democratic Congressman from Georgia.

HERE IS THE EXPLANATION OF EVENTS from when a mere 25 members of Congress were participating (new additions to the list are at the end):

Democrats who’ve publicly announced they are boycotting Donald Trump’s inauguration are part of a growing list. Some have agonized over the decision to upend the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. For others, the decision has been easy — especially since Trump’s weekend attack on civil rights icon John Lewis.

On Monday, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) joined two dozen other members of Congress who will not be present on the steps of the Capitol Building. The lawmaker told CNN:

I cannot go because of the president-elect’s inflammatory comments, his racist campaign, his conflicts of interest, his refusal to disclose his taxes.

But the ‘last straw’ was the ‘personal attacks’ of Trump on Lewis — ‘someone who suffered beatings and almost gave his life for this country.’

The other Congressmen on the growing list, and some of the reasons they’ve stated for the boycott, are:

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva. Grijalva explained that he was not motivated by a disrespect for either the Presidency or the government. His action isn’t due to his own disrespect at all, but to Trump’s:

But as an individual act — yes, of defiance — at the disrespect shown to millions and millions of Americans by this incoming administration.

The Growing List Includes 7 Representatives From California.

California Rep. Mark DeSaulnier. DeSaulnier made the announcement with ‘a heavy heart’, but no explanation.

California Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard.  Roybal-Allard didn’t specifically cite Lewis as the reason, but gave an more all-inclusive response on Sunday to the impending inauguration:

The disparaging remarks the President-elect has made about many groups, including women, Mexicans, and Muslims, are deeply contrary to my values. As a result, I will not be attending the Inauguration.

California Rep. Jared Huffman simply tweeted that he’d be at home with his constituents, ‘making a positive difference in our community.’ His planned activities included a naturalization ceremony welcoming new citizens into the country.

California Rep. Barbara Lee’s statement objected to the normalization of ‘the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party.’ Further, she said she would be spending the time ‘preparing for resistance.’

California Rep. Ted Lieu said that Trump’s many conflicts of interest put him in violation of the Constitution. But the deciding factor was Lewis:

Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis. 

California Rep. Mark Takano echoed that sentiment, stating that he, too, stands with John Lewis.

California Rep. Judy Chu simply said she had given the matter ‘much thought’ and wouldn’t be attending.

California Rep. Maxine Waters was much more succinct with a tweet on Sunday:

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, the subject at the heart of many objections to Trump, has never missed an inauguration in the 30 years he’s been a member of Congress — until this one. He said:

You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong.

Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a member of a minority, gave a very personal explanation:

I could not look at my wife, my daughters or my grandson in the eye if I sat there and attended as if everything that candidate Donald Trump had said about The women, about The Latinos, or The Blacks, The Muslims or any of the other things he said in his speeches and Tweets — that any of that is OK or erased from my memory.

Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark issued a statement that spoke of her constituents’ fears about Trump’s many anti-this and anti-that statements. Families fear for both their health and safety in view of the policies the president-elect espouses. Clark repeated the same reluctance to ‘normalize’ a man viewed as abnormal, or extreme, that many others have shown.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, Jr.’s office made the announcement that he would not attend, but without any further explanation.

Missouri Rep. William Lacy Clay also kept it simple. He’ll be at home with his constituents.

New York so far has FIVE representatives who have publicly taken the position that they will not attend. Four of them preceded Nadler.

New York Rep. Jose Serrano said:

[I] cannot celebrate the inauguration of a man who has no regard for my constituents.

New York Rep. Nydia Velazquez will not attend the inauguration but will attend the Women’s March On Washington the next day.

New York Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, like many others, tweeted her outrage:

New York Rep. Adriano Espaillat took to Facebook to make his announcement. He referred to Martin Luther King Jr.’s tireless work to make his dream for this country a reality. Espaillat wrote:

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.

Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge gave no explanation for her decision except that she’d be home in Cleveland.

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer was emphatic about the fears of the people he represents. His statement read:

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.

Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio belongs on a list of his own. He apparently never goes to the inauguration, or any of the other ‘pomp and circumstance’ celebrations of Washington, D.C.

Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, in the true spirit of the state he represents, was unique in his explanation:

[Trump] 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.

Washington Rep. Adam Smith fell back on the excuse of being ‘with his constituents.’

 Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal made her decision not to attend before Trump took to Twitter to attack John Lewis because she saw the terror of her constituents about the coming presidency. As a result of the events of the weekend, however, she labeled the growing list of Congressmen for what it is:

My resolve has only strengthened in the past few days as I watched Donald Trump’s response to one of our country’s great civil rights icons and a personal hero of mine, Congressman John Lewis. With Donald Trump’s tweet, he himself has inflamed the situation and now two dozen of my colleagues will also not be attending the inauguration. It has become a boycott.

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan is the final person on the list. Pocan was planning on attending the inauguration until Trump’s ‘offensive tweets about a national hero’ over the weekend. Now, he’s changed his mind, with a final shot at the president-elect:

At a 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.

There are four days until the inauguration — plenty of time for this growing list to get even longer.

AND GROW LONGER IT HAS. The following members of Congress have added their names to the list since the above was written on Monday (in alphabetical order):

Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pa.), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.), Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.), Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).

 

Feature photo, public domain photo by the U.S. government.


 
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Deborah Montesano

Deborah Montesano is a longtime political activist and blogger. She learned to fight against impossible odds by living for years in Arizona, but recently relocated to the more progressive-friendly city of Portland, Oregon. Find her on Facebook at facebook.com/thepoliticali/ or on Twitter @thepoliticali_1.

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