A third of congressional Democrats are boycotting Donald Trump's inauguration

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The Democratic boycott of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration gained a major addition Friday when Rep. John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon, announced he would not be present for Trump's swearing in.

"I do not plan to attend the inauguration," Lewis, who has served since 1987, told NBC's Meet the Press." It will be the first one that I miss since I've been in the Congress." 

Not attending the swearing-in of a new president is a big deal. 

Historically, members from both parties attend the service — which takes place at the U.S. Capitol. After the ceremony, members of Congress then host a bipartisan luncheon for the new president and vice president. 

However, 67 Democrats have already said they will not attend the swearing-in as a sign of protest. Others won't go because of other commitments.

One California Democratic member's office told Mic that many more Democrats may not attend, given that Inauguration Day will take place on a Friday in a week when Congress is not in session, and many will not want to travel all the way to Washington, D.C., from their districts for a daylong event they are already dreading.

Here are the members of Congress who have said publicly they won't attend.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)

"I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others to help him get elected," Lewis told Meet the Press. "That's not right. That's not fair. That's not the open, democratic process." 


Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)

One of the leading candidates to become the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, Ellison tweeted on January 16 that he did not wish to "celebrate a man who preaches a politics of division and hate."

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

Grijalva, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, will spend the day back in his Tucson-based district, where he'll be meeting with constituents concerned about the impact Trump will have on Medicare and Medicaid, Grijalva's office told Mic.

The next day, Grijalva will attend an offshoot of the Women's March in Tucson, his office said.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.)

Velazquez tweeted Monday that she won't be going to Trump's inauguration — but she will attend the Women's March in Washington the following day.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)

Lee said Thursday she refuses to celebrate Trump, who she says ran a campaign based on "racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry."

"Donald Trump has proven that his administration will normalize the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party," Lee said in a letter, laying out the parts of Trump's campaign she found offensive. "On Inauguration Day, I will not be celebrating, I will be organizing and preparing for resistance."

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.)

Gutierrez, an outspoken immigration advocate, said he plans to attend the Women's March, but not the inauguration.

"I went to George Bush's inauguration, and I work with Republicans all the time," Gutierrez said in a speech on the House floor. "But this is different. I never thought George Bush was trying to make my own country hostile toward me, personally. To my wife. To my daughters."

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.)

In a Jan. 7 Facebook post, Huffman said he does not accept the election results, and thus refuses to attend Trump's inauguration.

"I believe the antidote to Donald Trump is kindness, thoughtfulness, tolerance and inclusion — and 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," Huffman wrote. "Toward that end, I'll be spending Inauguration Day here in my district doing positive things. I invite you to join me."

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)

In a Facebook post Saturday, Blumenauer said he won't attend the inauguration because of "unprecedented concern" from his constituents over a Trump presidency.


"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," Blumenauer said. "It is hard to think of a better use of my time on January 20th."

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.)

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Clark said she will be sitting out Trump's inauguration because she doesn't want to "normalize" his "bigoted, misogynist, anti-Semitic and racist claims."

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.)

Lieu, who is a colonel in the Air Force Reserve, will be doing reserve duty on the day of the inauguration, and thus won't be in attendance, according to his office.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.)

On Sunday, the longtime representative of California's largely Hispanic 40th district released a statement announcing she would not be in attendance on Jan. 20 because of "the disparaging remarks the President-elect has made about many groups, including women, Mexicans, and Muslims."

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.)

On Jan 14, Mark Takano tweeted that he would be standing with Lewis and would boycott the inauguration.


Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.)

In a strongly worded tweet, Clarke, who represents central Brooklyn, announced she would be staying home on Jan. 20.


Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.)

Pocan, the first vice-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, announced on Jan. 15 that he had planned to attend the inauguration "out of respect for the office of President," but decided to stay home after "reading the Classified document on Russian hacking," Trump's tweets about Lewis and his "handling of his conflicts of interest."


Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)

After tweeting on Jan. 14 that Trump "stands with V. Putin," Nadler, whose district covers parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, said he was standing with Lewis and announced his plans to boycott the inauguration with this statement:

"The rhetoric and actions of Donald Trump have been so far beyond the pale -- so disturbing and disheartening -- and his continued failure to address his conflicts of interest, to adequately divest or even to fully disclose his financial dealings, or to sufficiently separate himself from the ethical misconduct that legal experts on both sides of the aisle have identified have been so offensive I cannot in good conscience participate in this honored and revered democratic tradition of the peaceful transfer of power."

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)

A spokesperson for Conyers, the dean of the United House of Representatives, told CNN and Politico that he would not be attending the inauguration.

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.)

In a tweet, DeSaulnier, who represents most of California's Contra Costa County, said he decided "with a heavy heart and deep personal conviction" not to attend inauguration events on Jan. 20.



Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.)

Speaking to Oregon Public Broadcasting on Jan. 13, Schrader minced no words in explaining why he won't be attending the inauguration: "I'm just not a big Trump fan. I've met the guy and never been impressed with him. He's the president of the United States now, so 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."

Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.)

 A spokesperson for the St. Louis-area lawmaker has confirmed that Clay will be making an appearance in his district on the day of the inauguration.

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.)

Serrano was among the first to announce he planned to boycott the inauguration saying on Twitter that he "cannot celebrate the inauguration of a man who has no regard for my constituents."


Judy Chu (D-Calif.)

On Jan. 15, Chu, who in 2009 became the first Chinese-American woman in Congress, tweeted her support of Lewis and said she would be sitting out this inauguration.


Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.)

In a January 16 Facebook post, the newly elected Congressman from Upper Manhattan and whose district also includes parts of the Bronx said he would not attend largely because of Trump's "hate-filled rhetoric."

Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)

Jayapal tweeted on Jan. 14 that she was standing with Lewis and CNN confirmed that she would not be attending the ceremonies.


Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio)

The Cleveland-area Congresswoman on Jan. 15 tweeted her support of Lews and said she would be in her district on Inauguration Day.

Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)

Waters tweeted on Jan. 15 that she "never ever contemplated" attending the inauguration or "any activities associated" with Trump. "I wouldn't waste my time," she said.


Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.)

Via Twitter, Watson Coleman said that rather than attend the inauguration she would be hosting an interfaith prayer vigil in her district.


Adam Smith (D-Wash.)

Seattle NBC News affiliate KING 5 reported that Smith would be working out of his district and meeting with constituents on Inauguration Day.

Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.)

Wilson stopped short of calling her planned absence from the inauguration a boycott. The Miami-area lawmaker told the Tampa Bay Times that she wasn't attending because her goddaughter was getting married the following day. But she did say her constituents have been contacting her asking that she not go to the inauguration. "They're disturbed," she told the paper. 

Anthony Brown (D-Md.)

Brown, a freshman member from Maryland, said Trump's recent attack on Lewis led him to his decision to sit out Trump's inauguration.

"I respect the office of President of the United States, and I can only hope that soon you will earn the respect of all the people whom you have been elected to lead," Brown said in a Facebook post. "For now, regrettably, your recent verbal attack on Mr. Lewis disrespected him and his office, showed a disregard for the office you will soon hold and the Constitution you will soon swear to uphold, and demands my absence from your inauguration."

Don Beyer (D-Va.)

Beyer, whose northern Virginia district is located right over the border from Washington, D.C., told his constituents at a community forum that he wont attend the inauguration.

"Yes, I treasure the peaceful transfer of power. Yes, I will respect the constitutional prerogatives of the presidency. But I will not be part of normalizing or legitimizing a man whose election may well have depended on the malicious foreign interference of Russia's leaders," Beyer said.

Chellie Pingree (D-Maine)

Pingree, one of Maine's two members of the House, announced Monday evening that she will sit out Trump's inauguration because of Trump's "disparaging comments."

"President-elect Trump's actions go beyond any kind of reasonable debate — they threaten the constitutional values our country is based on," Pingree said in a statement, according to Portland Press Herald reporter Kevin Miller. "I won't dignify or normalize those threats by standing by at his ceremony."

John Yarmuth (D-Ky.)

Yarmuth, the only Democrat in Kentucky's congressional delegation, said Trump's "shameful remarks about women, the disabled, immigrants, and countless others" led him to decide to skip the inauguration.

"We must send the message that this behavior is not acceptable from the leader of our nation," Yarmuth said in a Monday night Facebook post. "Not attending the Inauguration is one way for me to do that."

Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.)

Boyle, who represents a large chunk of the city of Philadelphia, said in a Facebook post late Monday night that he mulled whether to attend Trump's inauguration for two months before deciding not to attend.

"The election of Donald Trump presents a challenge to my long held view of presidential inaugurations. As much as I cherish this day, can I in good conscience celebrate that which I believe is a grave mistake? Can I sit by mere yards away and applaud the desecration of the most important office in the history of the world?" Boyle said on Facebook. "After wrestling with this question for the last two months, I have concluded I cannot participate in this Inaugural celebration."

Dwight Evans (D-Pa.)

Evans, a newly sworn in member of Congress, also cited Lewis for his reason not to go to the inauguration.

Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.)

Cohen tweeted out Monday that he won't attend the inauguration "out of respect" for Lewis.

Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.)

Lofgren told the Los Angeles Times she won't go to Trump's inauguration.

"I acknowledge the fact that he is the incoming president, but I'm not in the mood to celebrate that fact," Lofgren said.

Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.)

Ruiz told a local newspaper from his district that Trump's disrespect for everyday Americans led him to decide to sit out the inauguration.

"A real president doesn't attack the press because they ask tough questions," Ruiz told the Desert Sun. "A real president doesn't insult and bully celebrities or everyday Americans because they disagree with him."

Darren Soto (D-Fla.)

Soto, a newly sworn in member of Congress from Orlando, told a local television station that Trump's attack on Lewis was behind his decision not to go to the inauguration.

"I am deeply disappointed with Trump's attacks against civil rights hero John Lewis and will not be attending the inauguration as a result," Soto told Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV Channel 9.

Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.)

Cardenas told his constituents at an event on Martin Luther King Day that he won't attend the inauguration and will instead attend a march the following day.

"I will be fighting for your voting rights, your right to a doctor," Cardenas said, referring to the GOP-led effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Al Green (D-Texas)

Green announced Tuesday he will not attend the inauguration, the Texas Tribune's Patrick Svitek tweeted.

"I will not attend the inauguration because conscience says it is the right thing to do," Green said.

Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)

Hastings' office told the Miami Herald that he will spend the day in his district rather than attend Trump's inauguration.

Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)

"I feel that my time this week will be best spent at home in Oregon rather than attending the inauguration festivities," DeFazio said in a statement. "In the next few days, I will be in my community, meeting with my constituents and discussing their priorities for the year. I usually do not attend presidential inauguration ceremonies and do my best to avoid pomp and circumstance events in Washington, and this year will be no different."

Mike Doyle (D-Pa.)

Doyle tweeted Tuesday that he won't be going to the inauguration.

Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.)

Shea-Porter tweeted Monday that she is going to spend her time in "religious service to pray for all our leaders and people" instead of going to the inauguration.

Juan Vargas (D-Calif.)

Vargas, too, said he will spend inauguration day "praying for our country" in his district, rather than attend Trump's swearing in.

Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.)

Thompson's office told the Clarion Ledger that Thompson will not attend the inauguration.

"Mr. Trump's recent insensitive and foolish remarks about civil rights hero John Lewis were far beneath the dignity of the Office of the President," Cory Horton, Thompson's legislative director, told the Clarion Ledger. "Additionally, Congressman Thompson continues to have concerns about the role that Russia had in our country's democratic process."

Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas)

Doggett tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he won't be going to the inauguration, saying he will not celebrate Trump's "unprecedented" and "unpresidential" actions.

G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.)

Butterfield, the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in a tweet storm that Trump's "brand of division & insult" led him to his decision to sit out the inauguration.

Joaquin Castro (D-Texas)

Castro said in a statement Tuesday he will not go to the inauguration, but he will be in Washington, D.C., to greet constituents who will be in town for the festivities.

"I come from a family and a place, Texas, where respect is a fundamental value – respect for people regardless of what they look like, where they were born, or whether they share your view of the world," Castro said in the statement. "Donald Trump has shown an utter lack of respect for so many Americans. His attack on civil rights hero John Lewis is the latest example."

Robert Brady (D-Pa.)

Brady, a long-serving member from Philadelphia, said Trump's feud with Lewis is the reason he won't attend the inauguration.

"I'm not going to go to the Inaugural. I want to support John Lewis, he's a personal friend of mine," Brady said Monday, according to ABC 6 Philadelphia.

Karen Bass (D-Calif.)

Bass asked her constituents in a Twitter poll whether she should attend Trump's inauguration. After an overwhelming amount voted "no," Bass decided not to attend.

"After receiving an overwhelming response on the twitter poll, I've decided not to attend the inauguration of President-elect Trump," Bass tweeted Tuesday.

Alma Adams (D-N.C.)

Adams said she could not "in good faith and consciousness pretend to celebrate the inauguration of someone who has spoken so horribly about women, minorities and the disabled," Adams said, adding that she will meet with constituents rather than attend Trump's swearing-in.

Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.)

Payne said in a statement that he accept's Trump's win, but, "Will not celebrate his swearing-in to an office that he has proven unfit to hold."

"I have the deepest respect for the office of the presidency, something that cannot be said for President-elect Trump," Payne said. "His actions and statements have consistently been below the dignity of the office, and there's no indication that will change."

Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.)

Gallego tweeted Tuesday that he will skip Trump's inauguration to "stand against Trump's bigotries."

Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)

Quigley told the Chicago Tribune that he, "fully supports the peaceful transfer of power, but has chosen to spend the ... week with those who have elected him."

Dan Lipinski (D-Illl.)

Lipinski told the Chicago Tribune that he will be staying in his district and spending time with his wife rather than go to the inauguration.

Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.)

Napolitano will not attend, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)

Raskin said he will skip the inauguration because he "cannot get over Trump's refusal to deal seriously with the constitutional problems caused by his business entanglements with foreign governments and corporations," among other things.

Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)

Connolly cited Trump's "behavior and harmful words" for his decision not to attend the inauguration.

"The sordid aspects of his behavior must not become the new normal for America or her presidents," Connolly said in a statement on Wednesday.

Grace Meng (D-N.Y.)

Meng announced Wednesday she will not attend Trump's inauguration after hearing concerns from her constituents.

Terri Sewell, (D-Ala.)

Sewell also cited Lewis as her reason not to attend the inauguration.

Michael Capuano (D-Mass.)

Capuano says he accepts the election results but won't go to the inauguration.

Donald McEachin (D-Va.)

McEachin said in a statement that Trump had not done enough to bring people together after running a campaign "based on so much hatred," and thus will not go to the inauguration.

"He should have begun to bring people together the day after the election, and he has not started yet," McEachin said in a statement, according to the Washington Post. "I have a train ticket, but unfortunately, it has come to this."

Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.)

"On inauguration day, our nation invests the President-elect with executive power. We do not anoint the President with respect. Respect must be earned. Donald Trump, in his attacks on Rep. Lewis, and minorities, and women, and the disabled, has yet done little to earn my respect," Lowenthal wrote in a statement. "For that reason, and in solidarity with those he has attacked, I have decided not to attend the inauguration."

Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)

Schakowsky said she is protesting Trump's election because he, "used bigotry, fear and lies to win."

Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.)

Slaughter, like many other of her colleagues, cited Lewis in her reason to skip the inauguration.

"Congressman John Lewis and I came to Congress at the same time, and he has become like a brother to me. He came to Rochester late last year and visited the convent where nuns from Rochester saved his life on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. For all that he's stood for all these years, I'm happy to stand with him," Slaughter said in a statement to the Democrat & Chronicle. "As tough as this decision is, I was sent to Washington to get things done, which is why I will be working with the president-elect in the years ahead to move my district and our nation forward."

Filemon Vela (D-Texas)

Vela said Trump "turned ablind eye to overt racism," which gave him "no choice but to boycott the event."

Will Drabold contributed reporting.

Jan. 20, 2017, 7:22 a.m.: This story has been updated

Correction: Jan. 13, 2017 A previous version of this story misreported when Rep. Jared Huffman's Facebook post was posted. It was Saturday.

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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