Progressives Boycott Trump Inaugural

Elected officials form both the Republican and Democratic parties attend the inauguration of a new president to bestow legitimacy to the electoral process. Political leaders may disagree vehemently with the policies of a new president, but historically they have agreed on the importance of transferring power peacefully and unifying Americans behind a new president for the good of the country.

It’s also been a long tradition for a political party, following the inauguration of a new president of an opposing party, to attenuate its partisan politics for a short while, creating what is known as a “honeymoon period,” to give the new administration time to organized.

So what did progressives do the day after Donald Trump was elected? They announced their rejection of the election results, and  mounted protests in cities across America, chanting “Not My President” and “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA.”

Progressives deplore everything Donald Trump and the Republicans represent – border and immigration controls, a strong defense, smaller government, fewer regulations, an end of Obamacare, investments in oil-based infrastructure, and more. Progressives don’t want this America, they want a different America, one based on equality and social justice.

Cong. John Lewis, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), announced his opposition to President Trump’s election days before his inaugural, declaring “I don’t see the president-elect as a legitimate president.” Lewis declared he would not be attend Trump’s inaugural in protest.

Other Congressional progressives quickly joined the boycott. Among the first 44 members to announce they were not attending the inauguration, 32 were members of the CPC. Seven other officials have a lifetime progressive score of 90% or higher. Eventually, about 70 members of Congress turned their back on the inaugural, more than half of whom are CPC members.

Why Progressives Boycotted the Inaugural

The inauguration of a new president is a celebration of America’s Constitution and the peaceful transfer of power, not a forum for partisan politics. Below are excuses offered by elected progressives for not attending Trump’s inauguration:

  • Progressive Rep. Pete DeFazio said he wouldn’t attend because he avoids “pomp and circumstance events in Washington.”
  • Progressive Rep. Luis Gutierrez said he wasn’t attending because he could not bring himself “to justify morally or intellectually that immense power we are placing in that man’s hands.”
  • Progressive Rep. Brendan Boyle initially said he accepted the results of the election and warned “we cannot go down a path in which we do not accept the legitimacy of the choice of the people.” But then he boycotted the inaugural undermining the legitimacy of the choice of the people.
  • Progressive Rep. Alan Adams said, “I cannot in good faith and consciousness pretend to celebrate the inauguration of someone who has spoken so horribly about women, minorities, and the disabled.”
  • Progressive Rep. G.K. Butterfield said it “would be hurtful to my constituents for me to attend the inauguration.”
  • Progressive Rep. Zoe Lofren declined to attend, stating “I’m not in the mood to celebrate that fact [that Trump won the election].
  • Progressive Rep. Steve Cohen said “This president semi-elect does not deserve to be President of the United States. He has not exhibited the characteristics and values we hold dear.”