WASHINGTON — Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus are among the Democratic legislators in the House of Representatives who have said they will boycott the inauguration of Donald Trump on Friday.
Rep. John Lewis of Georgia has stated that Trump is not a “legitimate president.” Trump responded via Twitter, dismissing Lewis — a veteran civil rights leader who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King —as “all talk, talk, talk, no action or results.”
Rep. Mark Takano of Riverside responded to Trump by stating, “I stand with Rep. John Lewis and I will not be attending the inauguration.”
In a subsequent tweet, Takano said, “Dr. King assured us that the arc of moral history bends toward justice, but only if we stand up and speak out for what is right.”
Rep. Judy Chu of Monterey Park, chair of CAPAC, said via Twitter, “After much thought, I have decided to stand with John Lewis and not attend the inauguration.”
In a statement, she elaborated, “While I do not question the legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s election, I do object to his treatment of other Americans, particularly those who disagree with him. In a diverse democracy like ours, patriotic dissent is vital. That is why the values of pluralism, grievance, and criticism are enshrined in the 1st Amendment’s protections of religion, speech, and press — all three of which have been targets of the president-elect.
“The personal attacks on John Lewis were just the latest example of behavior unbefitting a president. So after much thought, I, like millions of other Americans, will choose not to attend the inauguration of President Trump. Instead, I will continue to focus on my efforts to ensure a more just and equal country for ourselves and future generations of all Americans — regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or orientation.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, whose district includes Manhattan Beach and parts of Los Angeles, said, “I respect members of Congress who choose to attend the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump or choose not to, just as I respect members of Congress who attended or did not attend the two inaugurations of President Barack Obama. I view this as a personal decision because no votes are being taken and no policies will be enacted at this ceremony. While I do not dispute that Trump won the Electoral College, I cannot normalize his behavior or the disparaging and un-American statements he has made.
“Trump — who lost the popular vote — has made a series of racist, sexist and bigoted statements. In addition, he has attacked Gold Star parents, veterans such as John McCain and now civil rights icon John Lewis.”
“Trump has made statements denigrating the patriotic and professional men and women of our intelligence services, many of whom risk their lives in service to our nation. He also continues to believe Vladimir Putin over our intelligence services and is actively misleading the American people when he denies Putin ordered a brazen, multifaceted cyberattack on America to benefit Trump.
“On Jan. 20, Trump will be in violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution because of the massive conflicts of interests he has with his global business holdings. That provision of the Constitution was designed to prevent foreign influence over American elected officials. Trump can cure this constitutional defect by divesting his holdings or putting them into a blind trust, but so far has been unwilling to do so.
“Can a man such as Trump have a good idea? The answer is yes. And if the next administration has a good policy, such as withdrawing from the flawed Trans-Pacific Partnership, I will support it. But if Trump has unconstitutional or bad ideas, such as creating a registry based on religion or gutting Social Security and Medicare, I will oppose them.
“I can only hope that Trump will govern differently than he has campaigned. For me, the personal decision not to attend Inauguration is quite simple: Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis.”
Other California representatives on the list include Mark DeSaulnier of Richmond, Maxine Waters of Gardena, Jared Huffman of Petaluma, Barbara Lee of Oakland, Lucille Roybal-Allard of Commerce, Zoe Lofgren of San Jose, Karen Bass of Los Angeles, Raul Ruiz of Hemet, Juan Vargas of Chula Vista, Jerry McNerney of Stockton, Tony Cardenas of Panorama City, Grace Napolitano of El Monte, and Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Seattle, the first Indian American woman elected to the House of Representatives, who has just started her first term, said in a statement, “Donald Trump will be sworn in as president of the United States on Friday. And I will not be there. Instead, I’ll be spending the day in the district with my constituents, many of whom are truly terrified that they will no longer have a home in this country.
“This is not a decision I take lightly. I respect that Friday’s inauguration ceremony symbolizes the peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next. But I cannot stand idly by while Donald Trump continues to divide our nation and demean our civil rights heroes.
“Trump centered his campaign on ‘othering’ and ostracizing others. He singled out Muslims, women, African Americans, immigrants and Americans with disabilities. There is no reason to believe that Trump will stop his campaign to divide now that he’s president. I refuse to condone his behavior.”
Rep. Grace Meng of New York said, “With just days before his inauguration, I had hoped that President-elect Trump would put an end to his inflammatory rhetoric. But obviously that pivot has not occurred.
“I have heard from many constituents and I thought long and hard about this decision. I respect the office of the president and our nation’s peaceful transfer of power. But the president-elect must get the message that his antagonistic and divisive comments are unacceptable. We cannot tolerate attacks on women, minorities or a civil rights icon.
“We need a leader who will bring our country together, and live up to the dignity and honor of the Oval Office.
“I look forward to welcoming constituents who travel to Washington, D.C. for this weekend’s festivities, and to engaging the new administration in policy discussions once it has been finalized. I will work with Mr. Trump whenever possible, but this weekend I march.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, at least 60 House members had confirmed that they were boycotting the inauguration. No senators have joined them.