WASHINGTON (JTA) — Five Jewish Democrats in Congress are among 60 of the party’s House delegation who will not attend Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.
The five are Reps. Jerrold Nadler of New York; Jamie Raskin of Maryland; John Yarmuth of Kentucky; Steve Cohen of Tennessee, and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.
The movement to boycott the inauguration was launched over the weekend when Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who helped organize the protests in the 1960s that brought about civil rights and voting rights reforms, said he would not attend because he saw Trump as an “illegitimate” president. Lewis cited, in part, reports of Russian attempts to swing the election toward Trump.
Trump replied on Twitter by describing Lewis as “all talk, talk, talk – no action or results,” prompting an outcry, including from Jewish groups that have worked closely with Lewis over the decades to advance civil liberties.
Some of the 60 Democrats, among the 194 in the U.S. House of Representatives, who will not attend said they agreed with Lewis that Trump was not a legitimate president. Others said they are joining with him because of Trump’s attack. Some said simply that they have other plans.
The five Jewish members, out of 20 Jewish Democrats in the House and 22 Jewish House members overall, said they are standing with Lewis and also cited their own concerns about Trump’s election.
“@RealDonaldTrump stands with V. Putin,” Nadler said in a tweet, referring to the allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed interference in the U.S. election. “I stand with @repjohnlewis.”
Cohen said, also on Twitter: “I won’t attend #inauguration out of respect for @repjohnlewis & for unpresidential remarks.”
Raskin said of Trump in a statement: “I cannot stomach his relentless trafficking in bigotry, misogyny and fear.”
From a Yarmuth statement: “I believe the office of the president deserves our respect, and that respect must begin with the president-elect himself.”
On Wednesday, Schakowsky added her name to the list of boycotters, saying she would be absent “in protest of a president who used bigotry, fear and lies to win an election that was tainted by foreign interference and voter suppression.”