Joining civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis and at least 18 other members of Congress, Seattle Rep. Pramila Jayapal says she won't attend Donald Trump's inauguration this week. Instead, she'll attend events in the Seattle area.
At a rally in support of the Affordable Care Act at Westlake Park today, Jayapal called on her supporters to share their stories of benefiting from the ACA and to be specific in their demands of their elected officials. Of her own decision to boycott the inauguration, she told the crowd: "I was being specific about my duty as the Congresswoman for the 7th Congressional District to be right here in this district with constituents who are terrified about whether they're gonna have a place in this city or country, and to make a plan for how we go forward."
"I wanted to be with kids who don't know if their mom is gonna be there when they come home because of this president-elect's policies," Jayapal said. "I wanted to be with DREAMers, who, after we told them to voluntarily sign up for a program, we're now saying we're gonna use that data to kick them out of the country. I wanted to be right here with the immigrant advocates who are going to make sure that we continue to stand up and fight."
Jayapal tweeted her support of Lewis yesterday after Lewis said he would not attend the inauguration and does not view Trump as a "legitimate president." Trump shot back that Lewis is "all talk, talk, talk."
“All talk and no action”? @realDonaldTrump, here’s @RepJohnLewis leading peaceful protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, 1965 pic.twitter.com/uc55u0SzSA
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) January 14, 2017
So far, no other members of Washington's congressional delegation have said they're skipping the inauguration, according to lists compiled by ABC, Politico, CNN, and The Hill. UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal reports Washington Congressman Adam Smith will not attend.
It's not clear exactly what Jayapal will be doing instead of the inauguration on January 20. Her office says she will be part of a roundtable discussion on immigration, but is not yet releasing details. A spokesperson did not return a request for comment about when she'll be returning to Washington D.C., although she tweeted that she plans to take part in the women's march the day after the inauguration. (The primary women's march will take place in D.C.; satellite marches are planned across the country, including in Seattle.)
We do know one thing, though: Before inauguration day, Jayapal will be part of The Stranger's Tuesday evening live taping of the Blabbermouth podcast. (Details are here.) We'll definitely be talking with her on Tuesday about her decision to skip Trump's party.
"I do understand that I, and others, are breaking from long-standing tradition of bipartisan attendance at the presidential inauguration," Jayapal said in a statement this afternoon. "However, this is not a normal time and we cannot pretend it is so... On inauguration day, I look forward to being with my constituents right here in the district, and then flying to Washington D.C. to get to work on the business that is ahead."