Election 2016

Robert Reich: No Democrat Should Get Near Trump's Inauguration—Including Former Presidents

Attending his swearing-in gives tacit support to this dangerous demagogue.

Photo Credit: YouTube/Democracy Now!

In a normal election, a presidential inauguration would be a celebration of our democracy whether your side won or lost, and an example of the country's bedrock faith in the peaceful transition of power. It should be amply clear by now that the election of 2016 was no normal election.

As a result, former labor secretary Robert Reich thinks a Democratic boycott of Trump's swearing-in is entirely appropriate. And that includes former presidents. On Wednesday, Reich wrote a Facebook post arguing that anyone who attends the January 20 event, unless they are protesting, is giving tacit support to a man who broke all democratic norms during the campaign and continues to show zero remorse for doing so; in short, a "dangerous demagogue." 

The post was apparently prompted by a call the UC Berkeley professor received from someone he respects. Maybe it was one of the Clintons, given the somewhat shocking revelation Tuesday that both Clintons are invited, as are other former presidents and their wives, and will attend.  

Here is Reich's post in its entirety:

I got a call this morning from a politician I respect who told me he was attending Trump’s inauguration not because he backs Trump but because he believes in promoting unity over partisanship and supporting a peaceful transition of power.

I told him that’s why politicians of both parties normally attend an inauguration. But the issue here has nothing to do with partisanship or a normal transition of power. It’s not matter of Democrat versus Republican, or left versus right.

The issue here is how former presidents and other politicians should respond to someone who has shown himself to be a dangerous demagogue.

Donald Trump became president by lying, demeaning women, denigrating racial and ethnic minorities, denying intelligence reports of foreign intervention in our election, excusing violence against opponents, and undermining the freedom and independence of the press. And since being elected he’s held rallies and issued tweets in which he’s continued to tell big lies, retaliate against critics, call opponents “enemies,” avoid press conferences, and dismiss conflicts of financial interest.

I told him that, in my view, attending Trump’s inauguration gives tacit support and approval to someone who poses a clear and present danger to our democracy.

What do you think?

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