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Dozens of congressional Dems to boycott Trump inaugural

The Rachel Maddow Show, 1/16/17, 8:59 PM ET

Protests off to early start ahead of Trump inauguration

Rachel Maddow reports on widespread protests ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration, including Obamacare rallies, boycotts by members of Congress, and constituents confronting members of Congress at local meetings.
Rachel Maddow reports on widespread protests ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration, including Obamacare rallies, boycotts by members of Congress, and constituents confronting members of Congress at local meetings.
At every presidential inauguration, there are always a handful of members of Congress who stay away for one reason or another, but large-scale boycotts are very unusual. The last meaningful one happened 44 years ago.

As Rachel noted on last night’s show, in 1973, as many as 165 members of Congress said they were prepared to skip Richard Nixon’s second inaugural, largely as part of a protest against the administration’s policies in Vietnam. The actual number turned out to be roughly half that, which was still an extraordinary protest: about 80 federal lawmakers boycotted the event, something unseen since the Civil War.

That was the last time a substantial number of congressmen and congresswomen refused to attend a presidential inauguration. This year, it’s happening again.
Dozens of Democratic lawmakers now say they are skipping Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony on Friday after more representatives made their boycott plans known on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Some Democrats had said they were boycotting the event before the weekend, but more Democratic members of the House said they wouldn’t attend after Trump in a series of tweets attacked Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who a day earlier said he doesn’t see Trump as a “legitimate president” because of Russia’s alleged interference in the election.
As of last week, a very modest number of congressional Dems were on record saying they’d boycott Trump’s inauguration, but the total jumped in the wake of Trump’s feud with John Lewis, a respected, iconic figure on Capitol Hill.

By late yesterday, the number was just above 30. As of this afternoon, the Huffington Post’s tally, which looks accurate to me, puts the new total at 54. (It’s worth noting, however, that 3 of the 54 said they’re skipping Friday’s event, but not to protest the incoming president.)

I don’t expect this year’s boycott to reach the size of Nixon’s in 1973, but there are still a few days remaining and if Trump took another outrageous step that offended the minority party, the totals may draw close.

At this point, however, zero Democratic senators have joined the effort.