Indian-American lawmakers on Capitol Hill were largely unanimous on attending the inauguration of President Donald Trump. However, one of the five, all Democrats, broke ranks, drawing national attention when she declared she would not be on the mall because of the negative comments made by the incoming president about veteran civil right leader, Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia.
“I will not be attending Trump’s inauguration. I will be with the people of my district,” tweeted Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, adding in a statement that many of her constituents “are truly terrified that they will no longer have a home in this country.”
While she did not take this decision lightly and respected the inauguration ceremony as a symbol of the peaceful transfer of power, “… I cannot stand idly by while Donald Trump continues to divide our nation and demean our civil rights heroes — like my friend and colleague, John Lewis, whom Trump has spent the last three days attacking.”
Trump had hit back at Lewis following the Georgia Congressman’s comments implying Trump was unfit to be President. Then President-elect Trump in his comments implied Lewis was an ineffective elected official who should priority to his crime-ridden district. It led to a mass exodus of Democrats from attending the inauguration.
“Trump centered his campaign on “othering” and ostracizing others,” Jayapal asserted. “He singled out Muslims, women, African-Americans, immigrants and Americans with disabilities.
There is no reason to believe that Trump will stop his campaign to divide now that he’s president,” she added.
However, the four remaining Indian-American legislators stood by their decision to attend the historic ceremony. California Sen. Kamala Harris made clear through her spokesperson
that she “definitely will be there,” MynewsLA reported.
Rep. Ami Bera, D-California, made clear he would be at the inauguration “out of respect for the office and the peaceful transition of power,” KCRA reported. “I mean that is who we are as Americans,” Bera said. But he was also joining the protest march on Jan. 21.
Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi took a similar position. While the state congressional delegation is split on attending the inauguration, Krishnamoorthi is among the 3 Democrats who were planning on going, Chicago Tribune reported. He was scheduled to join the protest march the day after Trump’s inauguration.
Ro Khanna, D- California, told Politico.com, he was attending the inauguration. “… and I’ll tell you why — so when Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren get sworn in in 2010, I want some Republicans on the stage. I don’t want a divided nation, where we start a tradition of boycotting the inauguration of the other party.”