BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than 40 House Democrats plan to boycott President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday.
That list now includes two Maryland representatives, Jamie Raskin and Anthony Brown.
WJZ’s Mike Hellgren spoke with Rep. Brown about his decision to skip Trump’s inauguration.
“I didn’t arrive at the decision not to attend the inauguration easily, and it wasn’t overnight,” said Brown. “The more appropriate response by the president-elect would be to take on Representative Lewis on the issue, and not to attack John Lewis personally.”
When asked if he was worried about possible backlash, Brown said he’s made difficult decisions before.
“In the course of my public service in elected office, both in Maryland’s general assembly and as lieutenant governor, I’ve made difficult decisions,” said Brown.
On Tuesday, freshman Representative Raskin saying he would join Brown in skipping the ceremony.
The boycott is not unprecedented, with more than 80 lawmakers not attending President Richard Nixon’s 1973 inauguration.
Other than representatives Brown and Raskin, Maryland’s delegation does plan to attend Friday’s inauguration, though Rep. Elijah Cummings told MSNBC that he was still undecided.
Maryland’s lone Republican representative, Andy Harris, declined to comment about the controversy.
Read Rep. Raskin’s full statement below:
“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 Governor 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.”
Brown’s statement, posted on his Facebook page, reads:
“’All talk, talk, talk – no action or results.’ Really Mr. Trump? The march on Bloody Sunday, led by John Lewis who humbly carries the indelible physical and emotional scars of that day and that era, resulted in finally passing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And Congressman Lewis has been fighting for civil and human rights ever since. Because of his actions as a Civil Rights hero, John Lewis received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Navy ship was recently named the USNS John Lewis. President-elect Trump, you have the undeniable right to take issue and disagree with John Lewis’ opinion about the legitimacy of the election results. But Mr. Trump, you need to think carefully about disparaging a Civil Rights icon such as John Lewis, let alone anyone exercising their freedom of expression that many of us fought for. Mr. Trump, you no longer are Candidate Trump. The enormous responsibility and weight of the Office of the President demands restraint where others might speak and constraint where others might act. As a former military officer, I understand the importance of respecting the office, regardless of the officeholder. I respect the office of President of the United States, and I can only hope that soon you will earn the respect of all the people whom you have been elected to lead. For now, regrettably, your recent verbal attack on Mr. Lewis disrespected him and his office, showed a disregard for the office you will soon hold and the Constitution you will soon swear to uphold, and demands my absence from your inauguration.”