Inauguration skipping is nothing new

While this might be the largest group of House members to skip the inauguration, but it has been done before.

With just about 48 hours before Donald J. Trump is to be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States the media is focusing on how many people will be skipping the inauguration. While it might be a record for members of the House not showing up it far from unusual.

President Barack Obama at his last press conference in office today, was clear that both he and his wife Michelle were going to join, Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. and Laura Bush and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in attending President Trump’s inauguration.

So, all the living presidents will attend the event with the exception of 92-year-old George H.W. Bush, who not able to travel under doctor’s orders.

As of today there will be about 60 Democratic members of Congress led by Georgia’s John Lewis who won’t be attending the inauguration of Donald Trump on Friday.

While, much has both written and said about the Democrats boycotting the inauguration, it is hardly the first time it has happened. Actually, it might just be a bi-partisan tradition.

The second inauguration of President Barack Obama was not attended by about 20 Republican members of Congress. Excuses ranged from their objection to Obamacare, to seeking a warm weather vacation.

When George W. Bush took office in 2000, Congressman Lewis, was part of a group of members of the House who decided to pass when asked to attend the ceremony.

Lewis along other members of the Congressional Black Caucus didn’t attend the ceremony because Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore in what Floridian’s will recall was a contentious election.

The second inauguration of Bill Clinton, saw around 25 Republican members of Congress skipping the event. Republicans had a laundry list of issues they did not agree with President Clinton on so attending the ceremony was not on their to do list.

California Democratic Rep. Don Edwards called for lawmakers to boycott then-President Richard Nixon’s second inauguration in 1973 and about 30 did skip the ceremony. Congressman Edwards group was protesting Nixon’s handling of the Vietnam War.

We can go all the way back to 1913 when some members of Congress were sympathetic to the women demanding voting rights and they skipped the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson.

So, while a larger than normal number of members of Congress won’t attend the swearing-in of President Donald Trump, it has been done in the past and far from front page news.

Video was from C-SPAN

 

 

 

 

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.