Another DC-Area Congressman to Skip Inauguration

Another D.C.-area Congressman says he'll skip the Trump inauguration, joining a number of Democratic representatives who say they'll stay home. 

The latest is Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who issued a statement Wednesday.

"I cannot attend the inauguration of Donald J. Trump on Friday," the statement reads. "His behavior and harmful words during and after the campaign have left the country I love with open, bleeding wounds. Instead of binding those wounds, he has poured salt on them."

Earlier in the week, U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin said they will not be attending the inauguration, citing, among other things, tweets by Trump in response to Rep. John Lewis.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News' "Meet the Press" on Friday, Lewis, D-Ga., said he does not believe Trump is a "legitimate president," citing Russian interference in last year's election. When pressed to explain why, he cited allegations of Russian hacks during the campaign that led to the release of internal documents from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign co-chairman, John Podesta.

On Saturday, Trump slammed Lewis and his congressional district, writing on Twitter that Lewis should focus on "fixing" his district rather than questioning Trump's presidency.

"Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart," Trump responded on Twitter.

He continued: "(not to......mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!"

Lewis' Democratic colleagues and supporters, including Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., quickly came to his defense Saturday. More than two dozen lawmakers said they are skipping the inauguration. Brown, Beyer, and Raskin said they would voice their support for Lewis by not attending in addition to making a statement about the potiential foreign intervention into the presidental election process.

Connolly's statement also referenced what he called Trump's "repugnant attack on civil rights hero John Lewis."

In a Facebook post, Brown said, “The march on Bloody Sunday, led by John Lewis who humbly carries the indelible physical and emotional scars of that day and that era, resulted in finally passing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And Congressman Lewis has been fighting for civil and human rights ever since. Because of his actions as a Civil Rights hero, John Lewis received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Navy ship was recently named the USNS John Lewis.

“President-elect Trump, you have the undeniable right to take issue and disagree with John Lewis’ opinion about the legitimacy of the election results. But Mr. Trump, you need to think carefully about disparaging a Civil Rights icon such as John Lewis, let alone anyone exercising their freedom of expression that many of us fought for. Mr. Trump, you no longer are Candidate Trump. The enormous responsibility and weight of the Office of the President demands restraint where others might speak and constraint where others might act.”

On Twitter, Beyer said he would not "be part of normalizing or legitimizing a man whose election may well have depended on the malicious foreign interference of Russia's leaders..."

"(Trump's) values and his actions are the antitheses of those I hold dear," Beyer said. "It would be the height of hypocrisy for me to pretend to be part of this inaugural celebration."

In a statement released Tuesday, Raskin said he originally was going to attend the inauguration as "a gesture of constitutionalism, simply to wirness the peaseful transfer of power from President (Barack) Obama to the new administration."

However, he said as the date of the inauguration drew closer, he didn't want his attendance to be seen as "any kind of endorsment of the normality of our situation."

"I wish that these were normal times and that I could sit and applaud the normal workings of government as I did when Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was inaugurated in 2015 in Annapolis," Raskin said. “But 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," listing out Trump's business entanglements, Russia's alleged influence on the election, and Trump's social media words toward Lewis.

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 attacked Lewis in a series of tweets.

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.; U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.; U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.; and U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md.; told News4 they will be attending the inauguration.

Other D.C., Maryland and Virginia representatives and senators have not responded to requests on their attendance.

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