To: Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse
Do Not Attend Donald Trump's Inauguration: Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse
Stand in opposition to hate, bigotry, and violence. Do not attend president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20th, 2017. As our Senators, your presence at the 58th Inauguration declares that you back the sexist, racist, xenophobic platform that Trump rode to the White House. We do not share nor support Trump's vision for this country, and neither should you. Show your allegiance to the communities that elected you by skipping Donald Trump's inauguration!
Why is this important?
Dear Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse,
On Friday, January 20th, in Washington, D.C., Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. Congressman John Lewis— longtime ally to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.— announced Saturday that he will not be attending Donald Trump's inauguration. Like many who watched Donald Trump fear-monger throughout his campaign, Lewis asserted "I don't see this President-elect as a legitimate president."
For the first time in 30 years, Lewis plans to boycott a presidential inauguration, adding he "cannot be at home with something that [he feels] is wrong." While some will argue attending this inauguration ceremony is tradition, we the people of Rhode Island, ask that join Lewis and other Congress members in boycotting this celebration of tyranny and racialized violence.
More than 30 members of Congress— Barbara Lee (CA), Katherine Clark (MA), Jared Huffman (CA), Luis Gutiérrez (IL), Earl Blumenauer (OR), and Nydia Velazquez (NY)— have already committed to boycotting the inauguration but they have not yet been joined by peers in the Senate.
In her statement on attending the inauguration, Congresswoman Barbara Lee warns:
“We need look no further than the team he is assembling to find signals that the era of Trump will be one of chaos and devastation for our communities.”
“[He named] a white nationalist as his chief strategist, nominated [an] Attorney General, [with a] long career of opposition to civil and human rights, and expedited the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act and make America sick again.”
“Donald Trump has proven that his administration will normalize the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party. On Inauguration Day, I will not be celebrating. I will be organizing and preparing for resistance.”
Now we’re asking you to join your peers. Like us, they agree that Trump’s campaign to seize the White House relied on repeatedly insulting and villainizing Black, Muslim and Latino communities. This is not the kind of leadership we welcome in Rhode Island or in this country, so it should be no surprise that we are asking you, a representative of our beloved Rhode Island, not to attend Trump’s swearing in. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, we need you to send a clear message to Donald Trump: I do not support your tyranny.
When Trump proclaimed himself the “law and order candidate,” he began dog-whistling to conservatives that he would handle all problems occurring in Black and Latino inner cities with an iron first. And to appease his racist constituency, Trump decidedly instigated violent attacks on Black, Muslim, and Latino protesters at his rallies. And on his mark, Trump’s supporters joined in beating, threatening, and forcefully ejecting Black and Latino people from his rallies.
The former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke has publicly supported Trump and has partially financed his campaign. That’s why it’s no surprise that Trump’s hate speech, misogyny, anti-Muslim bigotry and racism have ignited a national culture of violence and terror— a culture wherein genocide becomes the solution to a “problem.” His intolerance has fueled an alarming rise in the number of hate crimes committed against Muslims, as well as significant increases in membership to white supremacist groups.
Let us be frank, senators: This is not our vision of democracy!
Trump’s platform is rooted in racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. His swearing-in marks a grave turnover in power and a shift in political culture that negates the progressive momentum this country has gained over the years. Make no mistake: by attending Donald Trump’s inauguration, you are supporting an administration that seeks to normalize hate. There is no reason to celebrate the transfer of power to a despot.
Trump’s hate cannot be contained. But we can firmly and strategically oppose it whenever and wherever it appears. When anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, or anti-woman forces show up in democratic institutions, voters and community members need to know that you will stand up to hate and bigotry. Boycotting Trump’s inauguration is a strong step toward earning the trust of the people of Rhode Island. As sitting officials, your decision to skip Trump’s inauguration sends a critical message: We, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, will not celebrate the destruction of the values and institutions the American people hold dear. We are asking that you stand in with Rhode Island. We, the undersigned, respectfully ask that you do not attend the 58th U.S. Presidential Inauguration.