WBAL TV 11 - Md. reps among growing list of Democrats to boycott Trump inauguration
February 28, 2017
WBAL TV 11
January 18, 2017
U.S. Reps. Anthony Brown and Jamie Raskin say they will not attend the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump this week.
Brown and Raskin are in their first terms in Congress. They are now on a growing list of lawmakers who have decided to express their views about the president-elect by boycotting the inauguration festivities.
Brown made his announcement Monday on Twitter. He specifically mentioned civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), who sparked what became a nasty exchange with Trump over the weekend.
In his tweet, Brown called Lewis a civil rights hero, and wrote, "Skipping inauguration. Enormous responsibility to be POTUS. I respect the office, can't tolerate disrespect."
Brown is the first representative from Maryland to say that he's boycotting Trump's inauguration. It comes days after Lewis, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., announced that he's skipping the inaugural festivities because he doesn’t consider Trump a legitimate president.
In a firestorm of tweets, Trump countered by saying that Lewis is "all talk and no action or results."
Lewis didn't mention Trump Monday when we spoke at a Martin Luther King Day event in Florida.
"When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, we have a moral obligation to do something, say something,” Lewis said.
With his announcement, Brown joined dozens of other Democratic lawmakers from around the country who have said their also boycotting the inauguration in reaction to Trump’s comments about Lewis.
Some Republicans have countered by saying it is inappropriate for Lewis to question the Trump’s legitimacy.
"We'll be working to resist the agenda that trump put forward,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) said.
"It's not about President-elect Trump; it's about peaceful transfer of power,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) said.
Raskin announced Tuesday that he will not attend the inauguration, saying in a statement:
“For the last couple of weeks, I have assumed that I would attend the inauguration of Donald Trump, obviously not to show any support for his politics but as a gesture of constitutionalism, simply to witness the peaceful transfer of power from President Obama to the new administration. But, as the hour approaches, I realize that I cannot bring myself to go. I wish that these were normal times and that I could sit and applaud the normal workings of government as I did when Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was inaugurated in 2015 in Annapolis.
“But these are not normal times and I cannot pretend as if they are. The moral and political legitimacy of this presidency are in the gravest doubt. I cannot get over Trump’s refusal to deal seriously with the constitutional problems caused by his business entanglements with foreign governments and corporations. I cannot get past his stubborn denial of the enormity of Russia’s efforts to sabotage and undermine our presidential election (regardless of the victor). I cannot stomach his relentless trafficking in bigotry, misogyny and fear. And I am outraged and confounded by his continuing provocations against civil rights heroes, such as my colleague the great Congressman John Lewis, union leaders and other individual citizens. Given these dynamics and given that one can never have any confidence in what Trump might say or tweet, I cannot risk my presence at his inauguration being interpreted as any kind of endorsement of the normality of our situation. I will not attend the inauguration. I do not rejoice in this decision or take pride in it, any more than I would rejoice or take pride in going; the inauguration ceremony is just a fact of life now, and we must all deal with it as best we can. I am afraid that these kinds of searing moral and political conflicts are our destiny for a while.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings announced Wednesday that he will attend the inaugurations, saying:
“I plan to attend President-Elect Trump’s inauguration. This is a decision each Member must make for himself or herself. Like many of my colleagues, I have been fighting my entire life to create a more equal society for all Americans, so I certainly understand why some of them have come to the conclusion that they cannot attend.
“There are so many people who came before me who struggled so that African Americans could be full participants in our democracy. I believe that I honor their sacrifice by asserting my democratic right to attend an inauguration.
“The inauguration is bigger than President-Elect Trump. It is a chance for the world to witness our nation’s greatest ritual: the peaceful transfer of power. As millions of Americans witness the event, I want them to know that there will be Members of Congress present who will be vigilant to ensure that the Trump Administration is held to the highest ethical standards. Our democracy is the strongest in the world because our powerful executive is checked by an equally powerful legislative branch.
“All Members of Congress—Republicans and Democrats serving in the House and Senate—swore to uphold the Constitution and protect the American people. It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to make sure that our federal agencies operate the way they were intended, and in an efficient and effective manner.
“In two days, President-Elect Trump will control the world’s most powerful military and largest nuclear arsenal, and he will be the steward of the world’s largest economy. I fear that during his Administration, our political institutions will suffer a crisis of legitimacy. Many of our federal agencies, including the CIA and the FBI, will be tested.
“Unfortunately, House Republicans have made clear that they have no intention of checking the Trump Administration. Instead, they have become contortionists in their efforts to avoid doing their jobs and have coordinated with the Trump campaign in their attacks on our nation’s top ethics officials.
“Congress cannot sit by as a President fails to rectify his many conflicts of interest and refuses to acknowledge his impending violations of the Emoluments Clause. We must act as the last line of defense for our democracy, press Republicans to do their jobs, and hold President-Elect Trump accountable to the American people and the rule of law. We must also guard the progress that was made under President Obama by turning our protest into policy, and advancing legislation that will uplift the lives of the American people.”
Inauguration plans for members of the Maryland delegation
Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen will attend the inauguration
Reps. Elijah Cummings, John Sarbanes and Dutch Ruppersberger will attend the inauguration
Reps. Anthony Brown and Jamie Raskin will not attend the inauguration
WBAL-TV 11 News has contacted each member of the Maryland delegation and will update this list as new information becomes available.
Governor, Baltimore mayor to attend inauguration
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's office confirmed Wednesday that she will attend the inauguration.
"He is the president of the United States. We are looking forward to developing a relationship with the Trump administration," mayoral spokesman Anthony McCarthy said.
Pugh has already reached out to Mr. Trump when she handed him a letter at the Army-Navy game, spelling out the city's infrastructure needs.
Pugh joins Gov. Larry Hogan as those who publicly did not support Mr. Trump but will attend inaugural events to, perhaps, save political face.
"Most of American history has been built on people who disagree on ideas coming together and hashing out and negotiating outcomes," University of Baltimore Professor Roger Hartley said.
Hartley said those who are boycotting the inauguration have to weigh the risk versus the reward of doing so.
"On one hand voting wise, most of these individuals have safe seats. They are likely to be re-elected, and in fact, probably the membership of their district agrees with their decision," Hartley said.
But Hartley said there could be consequences as far as bringing back results to their districts, especially with a personality like Mr. Trump in the White House.
"Donald Trump has fired back when he has been attacked in the past, and we probably don't want our elected officials to jeopardize possible opportunities that can come from the federal government in a non-partisan way," Hartley said.