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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Vermont Congressional Delegation to Attend Trump Inauguration

Posted By on Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 2:43 PM

click to enlarge Vermont’s congressional delegation and their spouses - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Vermont’s congressional delegation and their spouses
Updated at 5:11 p.m.

Vermont’s congressional delegation will attend president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, despite a boycott movement gaining momentum among their colleagues.

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), as well as Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.), won’t be joining the protest, spokespeople for all three confirmed.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Welch said he’s heard from a number of Vermonters asking him to take part in the boycott.

“However, I believe the inaugural ceremony is about more than any individual. It is about the peaceful transition of power enshrined in our Constitution,” he said. “I believe it is my job to participate in, and be a witness to, this touchstone of our democracy and powerful symbol to the world. So, while I respect the decision of some of my colleagues to stay home, I will attend, but not celebrate, Friday’s ceremony.”

Leahy issued his own statement later Tuesday: “I am taking part as a member of the Senate, which is one of our foundational institutions,” he said. “I most certainly will not be taking part as a supporter of candidate Donald Trump, but as a guardian of our constitutional process and of the office of the presidency.”

Sanders’ office did not immediately respond to a request for further explanation.

As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 59 Democratic representatives were planning to skip Trump’s swearing-in ceremony to protest the incoming Republican head of state, according to a tally by the Washington Post.

Among them is Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights icon who told NBC last Friday that he doesn’t consider Trump a “legitimate president.” A number of other lawmakers followed suit after Trump criticized Lewis on Twitter, calling him “all talk.”

In his statement, Welch said he was “sickened” by the president-elect’s comments.

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Alicia Freese

Alicia Freese

Alicia Freese is a Seven Days staff writer.

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