SEATTLE – Last week, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal announced that she would not attend the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Instead, the representative will stay in the district, and be with constituents who are immigrants and immigrant advocates to hear their stories and concerns, and discuss a plan of action moving forward.
Rep. Jayapal released this statement today:
“When I announced last week that I would not be attending the inauguration, I did not undertake the decision lightly. I had hoped in the days following the election that we would see a President-elect who broke from his campaign rhetoric and worked to unite the American people.
“Instead, we have seen this President-elect continue to use language and take actions that demean our history and our heroes, and undermine our democracy. His Cabinet appointments underscore the grave threat to our country that his presidency represents. Appointments of people such as Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions and Andrew Pudzer threaten the very fabric of our country and the institutions that these men and women will lead. The continued promises to create a Muslim registry, to repeal DACA, deport millions of undocumented immigrants, and punish women for abortions, fly in the face of our 7th District values.
“My decision to be here in the district with my constituents who are truly terrified that they will no longer have a home in this city and country was not, at the time, a boycott of the inauguration. I recognize that President-elect Trump will be sworn in and he will be the President of this country, whether we like it or not. But I believe my first responsibility is to listen to my constituents and to be with them, through the darkest of times.
“If I had any doubts about my decision, however, my resolve has only strengthened in the past few days as I watched Donald Trump’s response to one of our country’s great civil rights icons and a personal hero of mine, Congressman John Lewis. With Donald Trump’s tweet, he himself has inflamed the situation and now two dozen of my colleagues will also not be attending the inauguration. It has become a boycott.
“I do understand that I, and others, are breaking from long-standing tradition of bipartisan attendance at the Presidential inauguration. However, this is not a normal time and we cannot pretend it is so. If we are worried about breaking from long-standing tradition, let us focus on the fact that when this President is sworn in on January 20, he will be in violation of the Constitution, the very document that he will swear to protect and defend. His disregard for the conflicts of interest he brings into this office, and his refusal to address those conflicts are the break from tradition on which we should focus.
“I am proud to represent the 7th Congressional District, and I will continue to listen carefully to all of the voices in the district and to do everything I can in Congress—regardless of party—to work for the American people.
“On inauguration day, I look forward to being with my constituents right here in the district, and then flying to Washington D.C. to get to work on the business that is ahead.”
NOTE: Details for the immigration roundtable on Jan. 20 will be announced in the coming days.