Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) said Tuesday that he will not go to the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, reversing his earlier plan to be in attendance.
“These are not normal times and I cannot pretend as if they are. The moral and political legitimacy of this presidency are in the gravest doubt,” Raskin said in a statement.
The freshman from Montgomery County is the third member of Congress from the D.C. metropolitan area to skip the ceremony. Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.) said earlier this week that they will join dozens of other Democrats who are sitting out the event in protest of Trump.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) and A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) were still undecided about whether to go to the inaugural festivities.
Cummings, a member of Congress since 1996, explained his position Monday in an appearance on MSNBC.
“I haven’t decided — it’s an interesting situation. I tell my constituents not to concentrate on who we are fighting against but what we are fighting for,” Cummings said. “And so I try to concentrate on those things.”
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), a nonvoting member, will not attend the inauguration because she is recovering from surgery.
Raskin said that he takes issue with Trump’s business entanglements with foreign governments and corporations, denial of Russia’s efforts to influence the election and what he called a “relentless trafficking in bigotry, misogyny and fear.”
He said that he is also upset by Trump’s tweets over the weekend criticizing civil rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). After Lewis questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s election, noting intelligence agency reports of Russian interference during the campaign, Trump tweeted that Lewis was “all talk, talk, talk” and should “finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities.”
“Given these dynamics and given that one can never have any confidence in what Trump might say or tweet, I cannot risk my presence at his inauguration being interpreted as any kind of endorsement of the normality of our situation,” Raskin said.
He added, “I am afraid that these kinds of searing moral and political conflicts are our destiny for a while.”
Raskin was elected to Congress after three terms in the Maryland Senate, where he rose to majority whip. He worked as a constitutional law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law for 25 years.
In his statement, Raskin noted that he attended the inauguration of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, in 2015 in Annapolis. Hogan denounced Trump during the election but will attend Trump’s inauguration.