A growing list of Democratic lawmakers have joined a boycott of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration this Friday in the latest effort to undermine the Republican’s presidency even before it begins.
As of Tuesday, dozens of congressional Democrats have publicly announced they will be boycotting the swearing-in ceremony, including Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Adriano Espaillat, Jose Serrano, Nydia Velazquez of New York, Luis Gutierrez of Illinois; Marc Pocan of Wisconsin; John Conyers of Michigan; Raul Grijalva of Arizona; Katherine Clark of Massachusetts; Kurt Schrader and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Lacy Clay of Missouri, and Barbara Lee, Mark Takano, Mark DeSaulnier, Jared Huffman, Ted Lieu and Judy Chu of California.
Also not attending is Texas Rep. Al Green who said, "I will not attend the inauguration because my conscience says it is the right thing to do," referencing Martin Luther King, Jr. in his decision.
In a statement issued on Sunday, California Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard said, "I thought long and hard about attending the Inauguration because I value our democracy and respect the office of the presidency, regardless of party. However, 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.”
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison said, "I will not celebrate a man who preaches a politics of division and hate. I won't be attending Donald Trump's inauguration." Ellison, who is running for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted this statement on Monday.
Tennessee Rep Steve Cohen said, “This president semi-elect does not deserve to be President of the United States. He has not exhibited the characteristics and the values that we hold dear."
Georgia congressman John Lewis, who gained fame in the 1960s for his involvement in the civil rights movement, was the first to declare his refusal to participate in the inauguration, going so far as to say he did not recognize Trump’s November win or his presidency as legitimate.
Speaking with NBC last week, Lewis claimed Russia was responsible for the outcome of the 2016 election.
“I don’t see this President-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis said.
In a further snub to the incoming president, Lewis declared that for the first time since taking office in 1987, he would skip the presidential inauguration.
A string of other Democratic representatives quickly joined suit, with dozens more still undecided, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown, both associated with the left-wing of the party.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R., Wis.) on Tuesday told Democratic members of Congress who are skipping President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration to “put your big boy pants on.”
As an increasing number of Democratic lawmakers are deciding to forego the inauguration, Duffy responded on CNN.
Duffy said he was not happy after President Obama won his election but Republicans did not boycott his inauguration.
“Listen, Democrats lost, Donald Trump won,” Duffy said. “You may not like him, you might not agree with his agenda just like we didn’t agree with President Obama’s agenda, but show up.”
“In the future, what happens with the next Democrat presidential-elect that goes to their nomination? Are Republicans now supposed to say that we’re going to stay home, that these events become partisan in nature?” Duffy continued. “That’s bad for the country. Show up, be part of it, put your big boy pants on, and let’s start working together.”
The New York Post reported on January 1st that Donald Trump's advisers invited Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the inauguration ceremony. The Trump transition team led by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, contacted Netanyahu regarding Netanyahu's participation in the ceremony.
"There’s a plan for Trump to meet with Netanyahu. They’re talking all the time. And Netanyahu is talking about possibly going to the inauguration," a source close to Trump said. According to a report on INN, however, Netanyahu has turned down the invitation to the inauguration. Some pundits have speculated that Netanyahu’s disinclination from attending may be linked to the ongoing investigations against him in Israel.
Immediately after the presidential elections, Netanyahu called Trump to congratulate him. Immediately following the elections, Trump invited Netanyahu to visit the US "at the earliest possible opportunity."
Trump has continuously emphasized that Israel is “very important” to him and has also promised to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
According to an INN report, Likud MKs Sharren Haskel and Yehuda Glick may become the first Israeli lawmakers to attend the inauguration.
MKs Haskel and Glick confirmed Tuesday that they had received invitations to attend the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Donald Trump this Friday and had accepted.
Haskel said that she was "honored to be invited to the inauguration ceremony, which is a historic occasion, and at the same time continue to strengthen the relations between Israel and the US. As part of my diplomatic experience I have had the opportunity to meet with officials from the American government in order to foster cooperation [between the US and Israel. I will continue to work to strengthen our great alliance with the US."
MK Glick was born in the US and remained an American citizen until he was forced to give up his citizenship when he joined the Knesset last year.
Glick told the Times of Israel that he was attending the inauguration to show his support for the US and its relationship with Israel, not to support President-elect Donald Trump. "I am not going to Washington to show support for Trump’s candidacy. But as far as I know the elections are over, and he’s been elected president.”
Several leaders of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria also accepted invitations to attend the inauguration, including Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi; and Ma'aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel.
Professor Eitan Gilboa, an expert on US-Israeli relations at Bar-Ilan University’s BESA Center for Strategic Studies, called the attendance to the inauguration of a foreign leader by Israeli officials "unprecedented."
“I don’t recall any participation of Israeli officials at an inauguration during the entire history of the State of Israel,” Gilboa said.
Last Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson outlined the massive security preparations for the inauguration during a briefing at the Multi Agency Communications Center at a secret location in Virginia.
NPR reported at that room, dozens of representatives from an alphabet soup of different agencies will gather to monitor events starting on Thursday, with a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, through next Saturday's prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral.
But the main focus will be Friday's swearing in of the 45th president and the inaugural parade from the Capitol to the White House. Johnson says officials expect from 700,000 to 900,000 spectators to attend the Inauguration Day ceremonies. He said 99 groups are expected to rally in favor of or against the new president.
Johnson said officials "know of no specific credible threat directed toward the inauguration." But they're taking no chances. Johnson said the "global terrorist environment is very different" this year compared to 2009 or 2013, at Barack Obama's inaugurations. He said law enforcement has to be concerned with homegrown violent extremism, acts of so-called lone wolves and people who have self-radicalized.
"We've got to be vigilant, we've got to plan, we've got to prepare," Johnson said. After terrorists drove trucks into crowds in Nice and Berlin last year, officials are protecting against a similar action in Washington. "Hard perimeter areas" where non-government vehicles will not be permitted, will be fortified by dump trucks, heavy trucks loaded with cement, and buses, Johnson said. "That is a precaution that we are doubling down on in particular this inauguration."
By: Ariella Haviv