Democratic Reps. Explain Inauguration Attendance

Some Democratic House members who will be attending the inauguration of Donald Trump on Jan. 20 have issued statements to the press explaining why they made that decision.

That comes after scores of Democratic House members begged off following Trump's Twitter criticisms of civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said it was not for the new President but the outgoing one.

Jeffries, who is African American, said in an emailed statement:

"For eight years, Barack Obama has conducted himself with class, dignity and distinction. Tomorrow, he will appear at the inauguration as President of the United States for the last time. President Obama and the First Family will then wave goodbye to the American people on the grounds of the Capitol and be whisked away on a Marine helicopter."

"I have decided to attend tomorrow's event, in large measure to be present in Washington for Barack Obama’s final presidential moment as a great leader of this nation. Thereafter, I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of our district with civil rights icon John Lewis and people of good will throughout our nation in the battle for America's future."

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), who is also African American, also felt the need to explain her decision to attend, saying it was about letting the President see who his opposition was going to be.

“I support my colleagues in their decision to boycott the Presidential Inauguration," she said, "but knowing how he operates, I suspect President-elect Donald Trump will use this expression of free speech as an excuse to bypass Democrats and to push his extreme agenda with utter impunity. With that in mind, I refuse to be a pawn in the president-elect’s efforts to rally support from congressional Republicans. As a proud Democrat, I want President-elect Trump to see me front and center as he’s sworn in. I want him to see exactly what his opposition looks like. When he sees me, I want him to see The Resistance.

“I did not come to this decision lightly. I weighed my responsibility as an elected official against my disgust over the president-elect's vile tactics employed to ascend to the presidency and the disrespectful treatment of revered civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis," she said. "I considered the multitude of supportive phone calls and tweets from my constituents in light of the embarrassing and ongoing petulance employed by the president-elect..."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.