SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, will not be at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration next Friday, she announced Saturday night.
“I am very concerned with this administration coming in,” Watson Coleman said to around 150 people during a “United Communities” town hall meeting at the Islamic Society of Central Jersey on Route 1. “I do not intend to attend the upcoming inauguration of the President of the United States.”
Instead of being at the noon event at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., next Friday, she will host an interfaith prayer vigil at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton, she said.
“When this inauguration is taking place, we will pray for our country and the most vulnerable people, and we will pledge to stand together against evil wherever we see it, even if it comes out of the White House,” she said.
On Saturday, she said she will take part in the Women’s’ March On New Jersey, one of 282 “sister marches” planned to coincide with the main march in Washington.
“We will stand against any aspect of dismantling of rights for women and anybody else,” she said. “The constituents of the New Jersey’s 12th District is a cross section of the many groups and millions of Americans that this incoming administration has turned its back on. Our nation is founded on democracy and inclusion that unfortunately our president-elect refuses to represent. I can think of no more important place to be than supporting my constituents and renewing my energy to fight for their freedoms.”
Watson Coleman is one of several members of congress that will not go to the inauguration.
In a broadcast interview on Friday, civil rights icon and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, also said that he would not attend and that he feels Trump is not “a legitimate president.”
“This is not a decision I take lightly,” Watson Coleman said in a statement issued after the town hall meeting. “The peaceful transition of power is a defining characteristic of our democracy. Inaugurations should serve as a celebration of the best of our nation-- a symbol of unity and strength. Unfortunately, it is increasingly clear that President-elect Trump is not just unfit for office, but his actions and promises threaten the very democracy for which we are supposed to gather to celebrate. I simply cannot in good conscious participate.”
Trump, a Republican billionaire businessman, upset Democrat, and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8, winning 306 votes and 30 states of the Electoral College.
Although winning the national popular vote by almost 3 million, Clinton only captured 21 states in the Electoral College, losing key swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan Wisconsin, and Florida.
It is the second time in 16 years that Democrats have won the popular vote, but lost the presidency.
Former Vice President Al Gore beat Republican George W. Bush in the 2000 election popular vote, but Bush became the 43rd president by inching Gore out in Florida to give him more than the required 270 Electoral College votes.
Trump’s unconventional and vitriolic campaign against Clinton led to protestors in the streets of major cities in the days following the election.
Many polls and pundits were sure that Clinton had a large enough advantage that several reported that she had an 80-98 percent chance of winning the election, and becoming the first female president in the nation’s history.
As the results came in, however, Trump kept winning states that were projected to fall for Clinton, including a “blue wall” of states in the “rust belt.”
During the campaign, Trump made several controversial remarks and campaign promises that included building a wall on the nation’s southern border with Mexico, threatening to deport millions of undocumented people that came into the country illegally, implementing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country from nations tied to terrorism and repealing Obamacare.
His election led to fear among several minority groups, leading to meetings like the event at the mosque Saturday night.