After Trump's tweeted insults of Rep. John Lewis, many are bowing out of the inauguration — and others had already planned to
Credit: Alex Wong/Getty

Donald Trump‘s inauguration won’t be a star-studded affair on Friday — and it’s shaping up to be skippable by many politicians as well.

Though he won the Electoral College by 306 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 236, he’s starting off his presidency with the lowest approval rate in decades — just 40 percent, according to a CNN/ORC survey. (Before he took office in early 2009, Barack Obama’s approval rating was 84 percent, according to the same survey.)

That disapproval has seeped into the Capitol, with 51 members of Congress (at current count) abstaining from Trump’s inauguration and the following festivities.

Most notable is Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon and longtime Democratic congressman from Georgia. Though Lewis’s lack of attendance is the only one that’s gotten Trump fired up on Twitter (so far) others have followed in Lewis’s path.

Trump was asked about the growing number of lawmakers who won’t be attending during an interview on Fox & Friends, and claimed he didn’t care — and he’d like to dole their tickets out to others.

“That’s okay, because we need seats so badly,” he said. “I hope they give me their tickets.”


Trump’s claim about huge demand notwithstanding, his team has flooded Facebook this week with ads in which Trump is trying to drum up interest in attending by “personally inviting” Facebook users en masse.

Event planners are expecting no more than 900,000 people, according to NBC. And that number won’t include the following members of Congress — and for 20 of them, here are the statements they made to defend their decision:

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)

“I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president. I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel is wrong.” (RealClearPolitics)

Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA)

“For me, the personal decision not to attend [the] inauguration is quite simple: Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis.” (The Mercury News)

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ)

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

“I cannot go to [the] inauguration of a man who’s going to appoint people to the Supreme Court and turn back the clock on women and turn back the clock on immigrants and the safety and freedom that we fought for them.” (WGN)

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

“I am not attending this year’s inauguration due to my concern over a number of divisive and inflammatory statements made by the president-elect. Over the course of the incoming administration, as ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, I will oppose policies that reverse the progress we have made over the last eight years and support policies that serve to protect rights and liberties of all Americans, including the areas of criminal justice and voting rights reform. I will do everything in my power to ensure that accountability is brought to bear on the administration, and that the Constitution and our nation’s laws are adhered to, as no one is above the law.” (Detroit News)

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA)

“Ordinarily, on Inauguration Day I would take my place above the west steps of the Capitol and join colleagues and dignitaries in honoring a great and solemn American tradition: the peaceful transfer of power which must always transcend partisan differences. Ordinarily, I would do that without hesitation for any President, regardless of their politics or personality, as a show of respect for the institution and the will of the voters — and as a gesture of goodwill to foster reconciliation and collaboration as we put the election behind us and prepare to work with the new administration. However, there is nothing ordinary about this inauguration or the man that will be sworn-in as our next President. I do accept the election results and support the peaceful transfer of power, but it is abundantly clear to me that with Donald Trump as our President, the United States is entering a dark and very dangerous political chapter. I will do everything I can to limit the damage and the duration of this chapter, and I believe we can get through it. But I will not sit passively and politely applaud as it begins.” (PressDemocrat)

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)

“The peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next is a uniquely American tradition that defines our democracy. Inaugurations are a time for our Presidents to ignite hope, demonstrate humility, and espouse faithfulness to the principles enumerated in the Constitution. The President-elect has yet to demonstrate these traits, and it is with a heavy heart and deep personal conviction that I have decided not to attend the Inauguration on January 20, 2017.” (DeSaulnier’s official website)

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

“There is unprecedented concern by my constituents about the many threats posed by a Trump administration seeking to implement the President-elect’s policies on health, environment, nuclear weapons, and immigration, to name but a few. I will forgo the inauguration, spending the day instead in my district talking with Oregonians to hear their priorities, try to answer their questions, and prepare for the coming assault on the values and programs we hold dear,” Blumenauer wrote. “It is hard to think of a better use of my time on January 20th.” (Facebook)

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)

Rep. Adam Smith, (D-WA)

“Believe me, I have a lot of statements against Donald Trump, his policies, and the way he behaves. What he said in response to [Rep.] John Lewis’s comments was remarkably ignorant—even for him. [But] I’m not not going to the inauguration as a statement. I’m not going because I’d prefer to be home.” (The Stranger)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

“Inaugurations are celebratory events, a time to welcome the peaceful transition of power and honor the new administration. On January 20th, I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House. Donald Trump ran one of the most divisive and prejudiced campaigns in modern history. He began his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants, pledging to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and then spent a year and a half denigrating communities of color and normalizing bigotry. He called women ‘pigs’, stoked Islamophobia, and attacked a Gold Star family. He mocked a disabled reporter and appealed to people’s worst instincts. I cannot in good conscience attend an inauguration that would celebrate this divisive approach to governance.” (Facebook)

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)

“I will not be attending the inauguration of Donald Trump as our next president. My absence is not motivated by disrespect for the office, or motivated by disrespect for the government that we have in this great democracy. But as an individual act – yes, of defiance – at the disrespect shown to millions and millions of Americans by this incoming administration, and by the actions we are taking here in this Congress. The majority of voters rejected Trump. They deserve respect. The 20 million plus Americans threatened by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement deserve respect. The millions who did not vote because they blame both parties deserve respect.” (Grijalva’s official website)

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)

“The constituents of the New Jersey’s Twelfth District is a cross section of the many groups and millions of Americans that this incoming Administration has turned its back on,” Watson Coleman said in a news release. “Our nation is founded on democracy and inclusion that unfortunately our president-elect refuses to represent. I can think of no more important place to be than supporting my constituents and renewing my energy to fight for their freedoms.” (

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY)

“The rhetoric and actions of Donald Trump have been so far beyond the pale – so disturbing and disheartening – and his continued failure to address his conflicts of interest, to adequately divest or even to fully disclose his financial dealings, or to sufficiently separate himself from the ethical misconduct that legal experts on both side of the aisle have identified have been so offensive I cannot in good conscience participate in this honored and revered democratic tradition of the peaceful transfer of power. We cannot normalize Donald Trump, and we certainly cannot turn our heads and ignore such a threat to the institutions and values of our democracy. His refusal to adequately address his business conflicts of interest, to show remorse for the inflammatory rhetoric in which he engaged during his campaign, his attempts to intimidate the press, and his continuing failure to demonstrate any interest in uniting Americans reveal a deep disrespect for the office of President. I refuse to sit idly by as he flaunts his illicit behavior without regard for the American people’s interest. I refuse to abide any effort to undermine a free and independent press, which serves a pivotal role in any democratic system and whose rights are guaranteed by our Constitution. I refuse to applaud for a man with a history of offensive and abusive behavior to women and minorities. I refuse to treat January 20, 2017, as business as usual. For these reasons, I have no interest in participating in the inauguration ceremony of Donald J. Trump.” (Gothamist)

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA)

“I have always believed the Inaugural of the president of the United States should be a nonpolitical day. As just a regular citizen, it is an event I have always looked forward to watching. Regardless of the person taking the oath and the party taking power, I have always looked at it as a day to celebrate American democracy. It is the continuation of that which started with Washington, the peaceful transfer of power in accordance to the wishes of the people. The election of Donald Trump presents a challenge to my long held view of presidential inaugurations. As much as I cherish this day, can I in good conscience celebrate that which I believe is a grave mistake? Can I sit by mere yards away and applaud the desecration of the most important office in the history of the world?
After wrestling with this question for the last two months, I have concluded I cannot participate in this Inaugural celebration. I do not challenge that Mr Trump won the Electoral College and therefore will lawfully be president. We cannot go down a path in which we do not accept the legitimacy of the choice of the people. In America, it is the people who decide. I accept the decision of the people. I respect it. But I will not celebrate it.” (Facebook)

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)

Though not a member of Congress, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will also not be attending. “I get paid to work in New York and I’ll be working in New York,” Cuomo told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower after meeting privately with the president-elect.

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Other members of Congress who will not be attending Donald Trump’s inauguration include: