By Susan Jones
(CNSNews.com) – At least two members of the Congressional Black Caucus are going where dozens of their fellow Democrats refuse to tread.
Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) announced separately that they will attend the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, despite their misgivings about the man and his presidency.
“There are so many people who came before me who struggled so that African Americans could be full participants in our democracy,” Rep. Cummings said in a statement released on Wednesday. “I believe that I honor their sacrifice by asserting my democratic right to attend an inauguration.”
Both Cummings and Moore said they support their colleagues who will boycott Trump’s inauguration.
“But,” said Moore in her statement, “knowing how he operates, I suspect President-elect Donald Trump will use this expression of free speech as an excuse to bypass Democrats and to push his extreme agenda with utter impunity. With that in mind, I refuse to be a pawn in the president-elect’s efforts to rally support from congressional Republicans. As a proud Democrat, I want President-elect Trump to see me front and center as he’s sworn in. I want him to see exactly what his opposition looks like. When he sees me, I want him to see The Resistance.”
The full statements of both Cummings and Moore are printed below:
I plan to attend President-Elect Trump’s inauguration. This is a decision each Member must make for himself or herself. Like many of my colleagues, I have been fighting my entire life to create a more equal society for all Americans, so I certainly understand why some of them have come to the conclusion that they cannot attend.
There are so many people who came before me who struggled so that African Americans could be full participants in our democracy. I believe that I honor their sacrifice by asserting my democratic right to attend an inauguration.
The inauguration is bigger than President-Elect Trump. It is a chance for the world to witness our nation’s greatest ritual: the peaceful transfer of power. As millions of Americans witness the event, I want them to know that there will be Members of Congress present who will be vigilant to ensure that the Trump Administration is held to the highest ethical standards. Our democracy is the strongest in the world because our powerful executive is checked by an equally powerful legislative branch.
All Members of Congress—Republicans and Democrats serving in the House and Senate—swore to uphold the Constitution and protect the American people. It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to make sure that our federal agencies operate the way they were intended, and in an efficient and effective manner.
In two days, President-Elect Trump will control the world’s most powerful military and largest nuclear arsenal, and he will be the steward of the world’s largest economy. I fear that during his Administration, our political institutions will suffer a crisis of legitimacy. Many of our federal agencies, including the CIA and the FBI, will be tested.
Unfortunately, House Republicans have made clear that they have no intention of checking the Trump Administration. Instead, they have become contortionists in their efforts to avoid doing their jobs and have coordinated with the Trump campaign in their attacks on our nation’s top ethics officials.
Congress cannot sit by as a President fails to rectify his many conflicts of interest and refuses to acknowledge his impending violations of the Emoluments Clause. We must act as the last line of defense for our democracy, press Republicans to do their jobs, and hold President-Elect Trump accountable to the American people and the rule of law. We must also guard the progress that was made under President Obama by turning our protest into policy, and advancing legislation that will uplift the lives of the American people.
I support my colleagues in their decision to boycott the Presidential Inauguration, but knowing how he operates, I suspect President-elect Donald Trump will use this expression of free speech as an excuse to bypass Democrats and to push his extreme agenda with utter impunity. With that in mind, I refuse to be a pawn in the president-elect’s efforts to rally support from congressional Republicans. As a proud Democrat, I want President-elect Trump to see me front and center as he’s sworn in. I want him to see exactly what his opposition looks like. When he sees me, I want him to see The Resistance.
I did not come to this decision lightly. I weighed my responsibility as an elected official against my disgust over the president-elect’s vile tactics employed to ascend to the presidency and the disrespectful treatment of revered civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis. I considered the multitude of supportive phone calls and tweets from my constituents in light of the embarrassing and ongoing petulance employed by the president-elect. I prayed on this and thought of First Lady Michelle Obama as she reminded us to refrain from abandoning decency in the face of intolerance and moral depravity.
It’s no secret that I find President-elect Trump and his policies repugnant and anathema to my efforts to pursue social justice, and I know a majority of my constituents feel the same. In November, Milwaukee sent a strong, clear message that Donald Trump was the wrong man to lead our country. I intend to deliver that message with my presence at the Presidential Inauguration and serve a symbol of opposition, not normalization.