4 Philadelphia-area congressmen won't attend Inauguration

- It’s history in the making, even though it will be the 58th time. We’re talking about a new US president taking office and the peaceful change of power.

However, more than 40 House Democrats plan to boycott President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday, casting the Republican businessman as a threat to democracy.

The list has been growing by the day. Here locally, the number who say they won’t attend is up to four. 

On Facebook, Congressman Dwight Evans used the hashtag #IStandWithJohnLewis. He went on to say "I will not be attending the Inauguration. Russian hacking must be investigated and I do not support the repeal of ACA (Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare)."

Monday night, Philadelphia Congressman Bob Brady joined the list, saying "I'm not going to the Inaugural. I want to support John Lewis. He's a personal friend of mine."

Also Monday night, Congressman Brendan Boyle made his position known on Facebook. In the end of his statement, he said "I accept the decision of the people. I respect it. But I will not celebrate it."

And across the river, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman will skip the ceremony to host a prayer vigil. Coleman is the first black woman elected to Congress in New Jersey.

Monday, Trump spoke of national unity to a son of Martin Luther King Jr., seeking to ease friction over the president-elect's squabble with Rep. John Lewis, a protege of the slain civil rights leader.

Late last week, the congressman said he didn't consider Trump a "legitimate president," blaming Russian interference in the election. Lewis said he would boycott Friday's inauguration.
 
But Martin Luther King III told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower after the nearly hour-long meeting, "He said that he is going to represent all Americans. He said that over and over again. I believe that's his intent."
Trump met with King's son on the holiday marking the life of the assassinated civil rights icon, just days after the president-elect had gone on Twitter to strike back fiercely at Lewis for questioning the legitimacy of the billionaire businessman's election as president. Lewis and the elder King were among the Big Six civil rights leaders of the 1960s.
In a post on his Twitter account, Trump had accused Lewis of being "all talk" after the Georgia Democrat said he didn't think Trump had come to the presidency legitimately. Trump also tweeted the Southern congressman should pay more attention to his "crime ridden" Atlanta-area district.
Trump's comments drew widespread criticism, and have done little to reassure those uneasy about the transition from the Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, to a president-in-waiting who struggled to connect with many nonwhite voters during the campaign.
 
Tuesday morning, Trump struck again with a tweet that noted Lewis claimed Trump's inauguration would be the first he will have missed since coming to Congress in 1987. "WRONG (or lie)!" Trump tweeted, saying Lewis had skipped George W. Bush's inauguration in 2001.

Lewis' office confirmed the civil rights icon had missed Bush's swearing in.

"His absence at that time was also a form of dissent," said spokeswoman Brenda Jones. "He did not believe the outcome of that election, including the controversies around the results in Florida and the unprecedented intervention of the US Supreme Court, reflected a free, fair and open democratic process."

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. Democrats control 194 of 435 House seats.

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 generally attended Bush's inauguration as the nation's 43rd president. The House is out of session most of this week and roll call votes are not anticipated, so other lawmakers in both parties may skip the trip.

Also Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted he expects a large crowd on Friday when he becomes our 45th president.
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