Rep. Steve Cohen rails at president ‘semi-elect,’ who he says ‘does not deserve to be president’; Nadler: Trump ‘flaunts his illicit behavior’
Times of Israel
Two Jewish members of Congress on Monday joined roughly 30 House Democrats in announcing they will boycott US President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday.
Reps. Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Jerrold Nadler of New York will be part of a growing list of lawmakers to stay away from the swearing-in at the US Capitol.
The ranks of the lawmakers who initially said they would skip the event were bolstered after Trump lashed out Saturday at Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, a respected former civil rights campaigner who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s, for challenging his legitimacy to be the next president.
Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen during a hearing in Washington, February 4, 2014. (AP/Cliff Owen)
“This president ‘semi-elect’ does not deserve to be president of the United States,” Cohen said in a statement. “He has not exhibited the characteristics or the values that we hold dear. That Dr. King held dear. That John Lewis holds dear. And when he questioned the integrity of my friend, colleague and civil rights icon John Lewis, that crossed the Rubicon.”
Cohen said “hope” and “change” — slogans associated with President Barack Obama taking office eight years ago — have been replaced by “fear and dread.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York. (Courtesy)
Trump and other Republicans have dismissed the boycott and complaints, saying Democrats are sore losers who need to accept the results of the election and move on.
While many Democrats were furious with the outcome of the drawn-out 2000 election, in which George W. Bush defeated Al Gore after recounts and a Supreme Court ruling, they attended Bush’s inauguration as the nation’s 43rd president.
Obama repeatedly faced questions during the 2008 campaign about the widely debunked claim that he was not a US citizen and that his birth certificate was a fake. Trump, in fact, perpetuated that notion for many years before a brief statement last year that Obama was a citizen. Republicans attended Obama’s two inaugurations.
Nadler, the second Jewish lawmaker to announce Monday that he would stay away from the inauguration, said in a statement that he refuses “to sit idly by as he (Trump) 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.”
Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, who also announced Monday he would boycott the inauguration, said he will not be part of the “normalizing or legitimizing” of a man whose election may be the result of “malicious foreign interference of Russian leaders,” a reference to US intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia meddled in the election to help Trump win.
Lewis said last week that he would not attend Trump’s swearing-in, marking the first time he had skipped an inauguration since joining Congress three decades ago.
“You know, I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday.
“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” Lewis said.
That drew angry tweets from Trump, who wrote that “rather than falsely complaining about the election results,” Lewis should focus on his congressional district.