More Democrats said they will boycott Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20.
The number of Democratic members of Congress boycotting the inauguration ceremony has increased to 26.
Many have cited as a reason Donald Trump’s recent attack on civil rights icon and fellow congressman John Lewis.
The president-elect lashed out at John Lewis on Twitter on January 13 after the civil rights campaigner said he was not a “legitimate president”.
Donald Trump said that John Lewis was: “All talk, talk, talk – no action or results.”
John Lewis was a prominent member of America’s civil rights movement and is a hero to many Americans. He was among those beaten by police during the infamous Selma-Montgomery voting rights march of 1965.
He joined the House of Representatives in 1987 and has served Georgia’s fifth congressional district, which Donald Trump went on to call “crime-infested”, ever since.
Donald Trump’s insults, made just days ahead of Martin Luther King Day, were the final straw for a number of Democrats who will break with tradition by missing the inauguration ceremony on January 20.
Yvette Clarke, one of five representatives for New York who will boycott the event, said: “When you insult Rep. John Lewis, you insult America.”
There are 535 members of Congress, across both houses.
California representative Ted Lieu said: “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.”
Illinois representative Luis Gutierrez was the first member of congress to say he would boycott the inauguration – announcing his decision in December.
Luis Gutierrez told the House: “I could not look my wife, my daughters, or my grandson in the eye if I sat there and attended, as if everything that the candidate said about the women, the Latinos, the blacks, the Muslims, or any of those other things he said in those speeches and tweets, and that all of that is okay or erased from our collective memory.”
He has said he will attend the alternative Women’s March on Washington on January 21.
John Lewis’ announcement of his own boycott in an interview with NBC News, in which he said that Donald Trump was an illegitimate president, prompted the outburst from the president-elect.
Donald Trump’s inauguration will be the first not attended by John Lewis in all his 30 years in congress. He cited alleged Russian interference in the election among his reasons for regarding Donald Trump as illegitimate.
“You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong,” he told NBC News.
Sales of John Lewis’ memoir soared to the top of Amazon’s US bestseller list following Donald Trump’s attack, eventually selling out completely.
John Lewis led a sit-in protest at the House of Representatives in July 2016 to demand a vote on gun control legislation, in the wake of the deadly Orlando shooting.
Republicans adjourned the House early to try to quash the sit-in, switching off the TV cameras, but the C-Span network picked up live streams from some Democrats’ phones.
Katherine Clark, a representative for Massachusetts, was among the first to join John Lewis for the gun control protest. She said last week she would skip Donald Trump’s inauguration.
In a statement, Katherine Clark said: “Families in my district are fearful that the anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and divisive promises that drove the Trump campaign will become the policies affecting the health and safety of every American.
“I do not feel that I can contribute to the normalization of the president-elect’s divisive rhetoric by participating in the inauguration.”
Donald Trump has struggled to book any established musicians to perform at his ceremony, despite his team appearing to have cast a wide net.
The event will feature Jackie Evancho, a 16-year-old America’s Got Talent contestant, alongside military bands and the Radio City Rockettes, although some members of the Rockettes troupe have publicly refused to take part.