WASHINGTON — A California congresswoman announced today that she would be “preparing the resistance” instead of attending President-elect Trump’s inauguration.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) announced her boycott in a statement: “I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House.”
“Donald Trump ran one of the most divisive and prejudiced campaigns in modern history,” Lee continued. “He began his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants, pledging to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and then spent a year and a half denigrating communities of color and normalizing bigotry. He called women ‘pigs’, stoked Islamophobia, and attacked a Gold Star family. He mocked a disabled reporter and appealed to people’s worst instincts. I cannot in good conscience attend an inauguration that would celebrate this divisive approach to governance.”
Lee, an antiwar Bay Area Dem who has served in Congress since 1998 and was the only lawmaker to vote against the authorization of military force after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is a former chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Congressional Black Caucus.
“After the election, many hoped the president-elect would turn toward unifying our country. Instead he has shown us that he will utilize the same tools of division he employed on the campaign trail as our nation’s commander in chief,” Lee continued. “We need look no further than the team he is assembling to find signals that the era of Trump will be one of chaos and devastation for our communities.”
Lee cited her opposition to Trump naming Steve Bannon, “a white nationalist,” as his chief strategist and nominating Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as attorney general “despite his long career of opposition to civil and human rights.”
She called Trump’s support for expedited Obamacare repeal “perhaps the most damning sign of the chaos to come.”
“Donald Trump has proven that his administration will normalize the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party,” Lee said. “On Inauguration Day, I will not be celebrating. I will be organizing and preparing for resistance.”
Lee isn’t the only Dem boycotting that day. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said on the House floor Tuesday he’s going to skip the inaugural because “I cannot bring myself to justify morally or intellectually the immense power we are placing in that man’s hands.”
“I could not look at my wife, my daughters or my grandson in the eye if I sat there and attended as if everything that candidate Donald Trump had said about ‘the women,’ about ‘the Latinos,’ or ‘the blacks,’ the Muslims’ or any of the other things he said in his speeches and tweets – that any of that is OK or erased from my memory,” Gutierrez said. “We all heard the tape when Donald Trump was bragging – bragging! – about grabbing women by their private parts without their consent. It is something I can never un-hear.”
Gutierrez plans on participating in the Women’s March on Washington, along with his wife, the day after Trump’s swearing-in.
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) said she’ll be skipping the festivities because going would “normalize” Trump’s promotion of “bigoted, misogynist, anti-Semitic, and racist claims.”