Many of California’s congressional Democrats skipping inauguration

At least 15 of the 39 House Democrats from California are planning to boycott the presidential inauguration of Republican Donald Trump, according to multiple reports. 

The reasons range from district work, to disdain for Trump, to responding to Twitter polls. In all, more than 50 House Democrats are planning on skipping the event.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will attend, however, out of a sense of “responsibility” and to honor the “peaceful transition of power.” The two remaining undecided Californians are: Senator Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles. Feinstein had a pacemaker installed last week, while Becerra is going through the confirmation process to become California’s next attorney general.

While critics are already panning the boycotts, attending the inauguration is not a requirement; skipping it in protest is uncommon but not unprecedented. Around 80 Democrats skipped the ceremony for Richard Nixon in 1973 to protest a military strike in North Vietnam. 

The only real requirement surrounding the inauguration is the oath of office being administered; everything else is a matter of “custom and tradition.” But that in itself creates a problem for Trump, said John J. Pitney, Jr., a Roy P. Crocker professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College. 

“Here is Trump’s problem. He proclaims that he is a disrupter and takes pride in flouting customs and traditions. … Accordingly, he and his defenders cannot turn around and fault the other side for flouting customs and traditions,” Pitney said. “If he wants a disruptive tenure, he’s going to get it, and he won’t like all of the results.”



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