What Some Democrats Are Doing Instead of Attending Trump's Inauguration

January 19th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

More and more Democrats are boycotting President-elect Donald Trump's Inauguration on Friday in the wake of a Russian hacking scandal and his public dispute with civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis — and that means they have to find something else to do. 

John Lewis

Last week, Lewis said he did not see Trump as a "legitimate president" because of suspected Russian hacking and selective leaks on his behalf during the presidential campaign. 

"I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected, and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton," Lewis told NBC News in an interview released on Jan. 14.

In response, Trump got mad on Twitter.

The hashtag #StandwithJohnLewis started to trend, and as of Thursday, 70 Democratic members of Congress had said they would not attend the January 20 Inauguration Day ceremony, according to The Washington Post. 

So what will inauguration boycotters be doing instead? 

ATTN: reached out to congressional offices to ask that very question. 

Brenda Jones, Lewis' communications director, said the congressman will most likely be in Georgia, probably in his district, and will make some public appearances in Atlanta over the weekend.

Rep. Ted Lieu

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) will be on reserve duty as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserves, according to Jack d'Annibale, Lieu's senior advisor and director of communications. 

Lieu released a statement on January 14 saying he was boycotting Trump's inauguration over the president-elect's "racist" and "sexist" rhetoric. 

“Trump — who lost the popular vote — has made a series of racist, sexist and bigoted statements," Lieu said. "In addition, he has attacked Gold Star parents, veterans such as John McCain, and now civil rights icon John Lewis.”

He also tweeted that he would not "normalize" Trump by attending the inauguration. 

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) will not be attending the inauguration either. 

“Inaugurations are celebratory events, a time to welcome the peaceful transition of power and honor the new administration," she said in a statement on January 12. "On January 20th, I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House.”


On Friday, Lee will be featured in an Inauguration Day event called "Watch Us Run" hosted by The Huffington Post, Bustle, and Bold, where she will be talking to actress Ashley Judd about progressive politics and online misogyny, according to Lee's communications director, Christopher Huntley. She will also attend the Women's March in D.C. on Saturday. 

Other Democrats decided to attend the inauguration. 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), by contrast, will be attending the inauguration ceremony out of "respect for the office," according her communications director, Marc Brumer, who told ATTN: she also "respects the leadership of John Lewis." 

Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) released a statement on Thursday saying she will attend the Inauguration Day ceremonies, but she won't be there for Trump.

"After much thought and reflection, I have decided to attend the 2017 Presidential Inauguration," she said her her statement. "This difficult decision is not an endorsement of President-elect Trump or his divisive and destructive rhetoric and policies."

Rep. Robin Kelly

She said that she made the decision to attend to see President Barack Obama's last act as president. 

"I was one of a handful of people who stood with him when he announced his run for the U.S. Senate, and I was there when he was twice sworn in as the nation’s first African American President," she said. "I will proudly stand alongside my friend – President Obama – one final time as he departs office after eight extraordinary years of leadership.” 

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