Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), who represents Hollywood and the West Side of Los Angeles, has announced that he will boycott the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Friday.
Lieu joins several other California Democrats who cannot stomach the democratic transition of power, or indeed the Constitution to which he swore an oath earlier this month. But his excuses for skipping the ceremony — a rare moment of national unity — are even stranger.
In a statement released Saturday, Lieu lists a litany of complaints against Trump, including his “global business holdings” — an odd complaint, given that Hillary Clinton’s overseas foundation donors did not dissuade him from supporting her.
Lieu goes on to describe the choice as between Trump and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a civil rights icon who has morphed in recent years into a partisan hack:
“I respect Members of Congress who choose to attend the Inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump or choose not to, just as I respect Members of Congress who attended or did not attend the two Inaugurations of President Barack Obama. I view this as a personal decision because no votes are being taken and no policies will be enacted at this ceremony. While I do not dispute that Trump won the Electoral College, I cannot normalize his behavior or the disparaging and un-American statements he has made.”
“Trump–who lost the popular vote–has made a series of racist, sexist and bigoted statements. In addition, he has attacked Gold Star parents, veterans such as John McCain and now civil rights icon John Lewis.”
“Trump has made statements denigrating the patriotic and professional men and women of our intelligence services, many of whom risk their lives in service to our nation. He also continues to believe Vladimir Putin over our intelligence services and is actively misleading the American people when he denies Putin ordered a brazen, multifaceted cyberattack on America to benefit Trump.”
“On January 20, Trump will be in violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution because of the massive conflicts of interests he has with his global business holdings. That provision of the Constitution was designed to prevent foreign influence over American elected officials. Trump can cure this Constitutional defect by divesting his holdings or putting them into a blind trust, but so far has been unwilling to do so. “
“Can a man such as Trump have a good idea? The answer is yes. And if the next Administration has a good policy, such as withdrawing from the flawed Trans-Pacific Partnership, I will support it. But if Trump has unconstitutional or bad ideas, such as creating a registry based on religion or gutting Social Security and Medicare, I will oppose them.”
“I can only hope that Trump will govern differently than he has campaigned. For me, the personal decision not to attend Inauguration is quite simple: Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis.”
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 15, 2017
In 2010, Rep. Lewis falsely accused the Tea Party of using the “N-word” against Democrats during an anti-Obamacare rally on Capitol Hill. In 2016, he accused Trump of being like George Wallace, a segregationist Democrat who governed Alabama during the Jim Crow era. And last week, he accused Trump of being “illegitimate” because of a “conspiracy” by Russia.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.