Donald Trump

‘So Why Go?' Democratic Congressmen Defend Decision to Attend Inauguration

For one representative, it's a matter of national security

While many Democrats are lining up to boycott President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration Friday, a couple — literally, two — Democratic congressmen from Southern California said they're determined to attend the inauguration now more than ever.

Adam Schiff, representing the 28th District of Pasadena and Echo Park, posted on Facebook about his decision to watch Trump take the oath of office.

"If former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can demonstrate the grit to attend the Inauguration after Trump's slanderous attacks on her, then so can I," Schiff wrote. "So why go?"

"I was appalled when candidate Trump wouldn't commit to respecting the result of the election if he lost. I feel I would be doing the same thing if I boycotted the ceremony in which the office of the Presidency is passed from one occupant to the next," he added.

Schiff, the ranking member of the House Committee on Intelligence and a member of the committee investigating the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, said this was the first inauguration he had ever considered not attending because of the alleged interference by Russia in the campaigns.

He noted that he was also insulted by how Trump responded to civil rights leader and Georgia Congressman John Lewis's critical remarks, where he said Lewis was "all talk" and "no action." Many Democrats cited this as the last straw toward skipping the inauguration.

Schiff said he plans to attend the Women's March on Washington the day after Trump takes office to "participate in another fundamental aspect of our democracy — the right to protest."

LA's other Democratic congressman expected to attend is Brad Sherman, who represents Sherman Oaks in the 30th District. He told the Los Angeles Daily News that in addition to respecting the peaceful transfer of power, he wanted to push for further investigation into the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee emails.

"You have to respect the process even when it gives a very bad result," he told the News when reached by phone.

Most of the rest of LA's Democratic delegation plans to sit this inauguration out by spending time with their constituents and attending local protests like the Women's March in downtown LA.

Congresswoman Karen Bass asked constituents to send their thoughts on her presence at the inauguration via a Twitter poll, getting an overwhelming 14,000 votes with more than 80 percent saying no.

Xavier Becerra, who represents downtown Los Angeles, hasn't publicly announced his plans because he is about to be confirmed as state attorney general.

Freshman Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat, will attend the inauguration but Sen. Dianne Feinstein hasn't shared her plans after recovering from pacemaker surgery last week.

Republican congressmen Ed Royce, chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Steve Knight, both from the LA area, plan to go to the inauguration.

According to presidential historian Brooks Simpson of Arizona State University, the Democratic boycott is not unprecedented, although uncommon.

Eighty congressmen skipped President Richard Nixon's first inauguration and three presidents — John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson — each boycotted the inauguration of their successors.

Contact Us