WASHINGTON — More than two dozen Democratic members of Congress — including at least one member of the Bay State delegation — say they will skip Friday’s presidential inauguration, a number that grew over the weekend in response to the public war of words between President-elect Donald Trump and Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis.
The boycotting lawmakers from across the country are joining Lewis in skipping the event — a decision he said was based on his view that Trump is not a “legitimate” president.
Trump shot back on Twitter calling Lewis, the civil rights leader whose skull was fractured by police in a march in Selma, Ala., in 1965, “All talk, talk, talk — no action or results,” drawing the ire of Democrats.
Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak said the boycott “makes those two dozen lawmakers look particularly hyper-partisan and selfish.”
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Democratic strategist Steve McMahon countered, “Frankly, after eight years of not only questioning President Obama’s legitimacy but also his citizenship, there are a lot of people who feel like what’s good for the goose is what’s good for the gander.”
Trump responded to the boycott in a tweet yesterday: “The Democrats are most angry that so many Obama Democrats voted for me.”
U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark is the only member of the Massachusetts delegation declaring she’ll skip the event, a decision she announced a week before the flap between Trump and Lewis. But most Bay State lawmakers will participate in protest marches taking place in Washington and Boston a day later.
Rep. Jim McGovern “will be standing up for progressive values and sending a strong message that Democrats will fight back against the dangerous agenda pushed by President-elect Trump,” at the Women’s March on Washington Saturday, one day after attending Trump’s inauguration, his spokesman said.
Rep. Seth Moulton will attend the inauguration, then charter a train car to take protest marchers from Massachusetts to Washington, his spokeswoman said. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren will attend the inauguration before heading back to Boston for the women’s march there, her office said.
Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III plans to attend the inauguration despite “serious concerns” about a Trump White House.
The boycott could be perilous for Democrats facing Republican challenges in 2018. But Democratic strategist Brad Bannon said showing up could be equally dangerous for Democrats “facing strong, progressive primary challengers.”
The protest march is less risky, particularly for Democrats who attend the inauguration, because it shows “respect for the office of the presidency” while also responding to constituents’ concerns about Trump, Mackowiak said, adding, “It’s a hedge, but it’s probably a smart hedge.”
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