26 Representatives Will Not Be Attending Trump's Inauguration . . . So Far
"When you insult repjohnlewis, you insult America," New York City Congresswoman Yvette Clark tweeted on January 14th, explaining why she will not be at the inauguration of Donald Trump. She's far from the only one. As of the morning of Martin Luther King Day, 26 members of the House of Representatives are declining to attend. They include representatives of states from coast to coast, from the blue strongholds of New York and California, to red states like Missouri and Arizona in between.
While some of the over two dozen politicians may have been making alternative plans all along, the common thread seems to be Trump's tweeted insults to Representative John Lewis. Demeaning his district and his legacy proved to be the last straw, and many cited him in their explanations, including Clarke and Mark Takano of California, who simply wrote “I stand with @repjohnlewis and I will not be attending the inauguration.”
Others pointed to Trump's hateful rhetoric all along, like Representative Jared Huffman of California, who wrote in a Facebook post, "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." Jose Serrano, who represents the South Bronx, one of the only majority-Latinx districts in the country, tweeted that he "cannot celebrate the inauguration of a man who has no regard for my constituents.”
Instead of attending the swearing in, most of these representatives say they will be meeting with their constituents, "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," as Earl Blumenauer of Oregon wrote on Facebook, "preparing for resistance," as Barbara Lee of California put it in a press release. Some are attending marches instead. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez of New York will be attending the Women's March in Washington D.C. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey will be at her state's sister march.
It's perhaps telling that many of these politicians have used Trump's favorite medium to make their voice heard, rather than a press release or interview, but in this new political and media reality, where the president calls reporters "the dishonest media," it's one sure way for their voices to be heard.
It's also interesting that, so far, only House members have publicly committed to skipping the inauguration. No senators have made similar decisions yet, but stay tuned to your representatives' Twitter feeds and press releases, and Fusion's continuously updated list to see if any of the upper house is willing to take a stand.