Anthony Brown of Maryland’s 4th congressional district has added himself to a list of dozens of lawmakers who refuse to be present when Donald Trump officially becomes president.
Brown’s decision stems from a beef between the president-elect and civil rights icon and longtime congressman John Lewis. The former, who represents Georgia’s 5th district, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Friday he felt Donald Trump’s presidency is illegitimate due to allegations of Russian interference. This past weekend, Trump responding to Lewis with this quick Twitter tirade:
Lewis was a friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. and a prominent activist alongside him in the 1960s. After helping lead the civil rights movement, he was elected as an Atlanta councilman and later to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he has served since 1987. He has been honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awards from the NAACP and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, among many other organizations, and even has a U.S. Naval ship named after him.
Brown, a rookie congressman who served as lieutenant governor of Maryland during Martin O’Malley’s administration from 2007 to 2015, was among dozens of members of Congress who swiftly determined Trump was out of line. In a message fittingly posted to Facebook on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Brown announced he won’t be making it to Inauguration Day.
He wrote in part: “As a former military officer, I understand the importance of respecting the office, regardless of the officeholder I respect the office of President of the United States, and I can only hope that soon you will earn the respect of all the people whom you have been elected to lead. For now, regrettably, your recent verbal attack on Mr. Lewis disrespected him and his office, showed a disregard for the office you will soon hold and the Constitution you will soon swear to uphold, and demands my absence from your inauguration.”
Brown elaborated a bit while speaking with WUSA9 in Washington D.C. yesterday, saying that while he doesn’t necessarily agree with Lewis’ assertion that Trump’s election was illegitimate, Trump’s attack was nonetheless personal.
“He not only disrespected John Lewis the person and the Civil Rights hero and icon that he is, but he disrespected Congressman John Lewis, the office, and the people who he represents,” he told the station.
Brown is in good company in making his decision. National outlets report more than 40 Democratic lawmakers have found reasons not to attend Inauguration Day in D.C. this Friday.