The Administration

Democrats opposition to Trump will extend well beyond the boycott


To go or not to go to Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday. That is the question many Democratic members of Congress are asking themselves these days.

But Trump, his transition team, and Republicans need to get something through their heads: this is about more than just the boycott. Whether they go or not, Democrats and progressives are unwavering in their commitment to hold Trump’s feet to the fire, to fight for their constituents’ voices to be heard and for their rights to be respected.

{mosads}As of yet, Donald Trump has not done or said a thing to reassure the majority of Americans who did not vote for him that he indeed wants to gain or earn their support and respect, and that no one has reason to be fearful or anxious as a result of his presidency.

Right now, many are. This is why many members of Congress have chosen to boycott the inauguration.

So far, over 60 congressmen and women have decided to sit this inauguration out — for various reasons.

It started when Donald Trump attacked Representative John Lewis (D-Ga) — an icon and legend to most Americans — a national treasure who bears the scars of spilt blood in the name of equality for all.

Rep. Lewis said he did not consider Donald Trump a legitimate president because he won the election, not solely on his own merits, but because he got quite a robust assist from the Russians who illegally hacked, stole private property, made it public, manufactured and distributed fake news stories, all to bring down Hillary Clinton and boost Trump’s candidacy.

It worked to help Trump win the Electoral College and therefore the presidency.

It did not work to convince the majority of Americans that Trump should be president as evidenced by Hillary’s win in the popular vote by about 3 million votes.

Throw in there the additional help from FBI Director Jim Comey’s letter 11 days before the election reviving questions about Hillary’s emails (only later to uphold his initial finding that no further action was warranted), and you have a morass of outside help given to the Trump campaign akin to a huge illegal campaign contribution by a foreign adversary and by a government law enforcement agency.

Does this make Trump’s win illegitimate? For many, it does.

Let’s also remember that there is now an open investigation by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General into how Comey handled the email situation during the FBI inquiry and whether anyone from the Trump team had any illicit contact with the Russians during the campaign.

So while Trump was elected according to the rules of the Electoral College, many Americans question — as is their right to do so — whether his win was solely on his own strengths and merits as a candidate for the highest office in the land.

The evidence points to the highly probable answer being no.

If the IG investigation that is currently ongoing uncovers any nefarious contact between Trump’s team and the Russians, his legitimacy as President of the United States will be the least of his worries.

Trump’s reaction to all of this is what started to drive so many Democrats to boycott his inauguration. Trump unloaded some hateful tweets towards Mr. Lewis, accusing him of being all talk and no action, and saying that his district was poverty stricken and crime infested. None of these is true.

I suggest Trump study the history of the Civil Rights movement and see if John Lewis was all talk.

I suggest Trump look at the makeup of Lewis’ district and realize it is home to some of the top hospitals, businesses, and universities in the country.

Trump’s reaction goes to the heart of why the majority of Americans did not choose him to be our Commander in Chief. He still proves he is not fit for the job. His narcissism, thin-skin and propensity to tweet first and ask questions later are not worthy qualities of the leader of the free world.

No wonder he goes into his presidency with the lowest approval numbers in modern history and why they dismally compare to his recent predecessors.

Normally, an administration’s approval numbers as they begin their tenure are the high point of their term. What does this say of where Trump will end up?

Donald Trump still has an opportunity to prove all of his critics wrong. He can start with his Inaugural address. He can reach out to those who did not support him. He can shelve the insult tweeting. He can speak about truly bringing the country together and stop gloating that he won. He can reassure that he will not deport Dreamers, exclude Americans from the American dream based on race, sexual orientation, gender, faith or ethnicity.

Somehow, I doubt he will do any of these things.

So until he does, Democrats will try to keep him honest (as challenging as that will be with the least-truthful President Elect in modern history) and ensure he does not trample on the country’s core values.

Even President Obama will speak out if he sees that happen as evidenced by his remarks at his final press conference:

“I want to be quiet a little bit…”

“But where I think our core values may be at stake – I put in that category if I saw systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion…explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote, to exercise their franchise…institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press…efforts to roundup kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids, and send them someplace else, when they love this country. 

“I think that would merit me speaking out.”

Democrats agree. And they will do just that, whether or not they boycott Trump’s inauguration.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator.

The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill

Tags 2016 Presidential inauguration Donald Trump Hillary Clinton United States Washington D.C.
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