Pingree to skip Trump inaugural, joining dozens of other Democrats


U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (BDN File)

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said Monday that she won’t go to Friday’s inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, joining a group of more than 30 other Democrats who are boycotting the festivities.

Pingree, a fifth-term congresswoman from Maine’s 1st District, made the announcement at a dinner in Portland celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She backed Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, in a spat with the Republican president-elect, saying she’ll be in Maine on Friday.

Lewis, who was one of King’s contemporaries in the civil rights movement, said Friday that he wouldn’t go to the inauguration because Trump was aided in the 2016 election by Russian hackers and he doesn’t view Trump as a “legitimate president.”

Trump responded on Saturday by blasting Lewis on Twitter, saying he “should spend more time” helping his “crime infested” district and that the congressman — who was beaten by police during a 1965 march in Alabama — was “all talk, talk, talk.”

In a written statement, Pingree said she fully accepts the outcome of this presidential election and she’d attend “under normal circumstances,” but Trump’s actions “go beyond any kind of reasonable debate — they threaten the constitutional values our country is based on.”

“I won’t dignify or normalize those threats by standing by at his ceremony,” she said.

Pingree is the only member of Maine’s four-person congressional delegation who is expected to skip the inauguration. She and independent Sen. Angus King endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton, while the two Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of the 2nd District, endorsed neither Clinton nor Trump.

The president-elect’s most prominent supporter during his successful campaign for the Republican nomination and in the general election against Clinton was Gov. Paul LePage.

Despite Monday’s announcement that she would skip the inauguration on Friday, Pingree is listed alongside LePage, the rest of Maine’s delegation, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, New Hampshire’s delegation and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on the guest list for a Thursday pre-inaugural event at the New Zealand embassy in Washington, D.C., according to an invitation obtained by the Bangor Daily News.

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.