Second-term U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), whose district includes Danville and Alamo, has announced that he will not attend the presidential inauguration of Republican Donald Trump onFriday in Washington, D.C.
"Inaugurations are a time for our Presidents to ignite hope, demonstrate humility and espouse faithfulness to the principles enumerated in the Constitution. The President-elect has yet to demonstrate these traits, and it is with a heavy heart and deep personal conviction that I have decided not to attend the Inauguration," DeSaulnier said in a statement last week.
Trump is set to be sworn into office as the 45th U.S. president on Friday (Jan. 20) after earning 304 electoral votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton's 227 electoral votes to end a polarizing 2016 presidential campaign season. Clinton outgained Trump by almost 2.9 million votes in the popular vote.
This inauguration would have been DeSaulnier's first as a sitting member of Congress.
Instead, he said he would not be attending the event, releasing a 409-word statement last Friday explaining his decision and criticizing Trump on a range of issues, including conflicts of interest, ethics, hostility toward the press and health insurance repeal.
San Ramon's congressman, third-term U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin), is scheduled to attend the presidential inauguration next Friday in his capacity as House Democratic leadership. Swalwell is co-chair of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
The 64-year-old DeSaulnier won re-election to the 11th Congressional District handily in November, garnering 72.1% of the vote compared to 27.9% by Republican challenger Roger Allen Petersen.
He was first elected to the House of Representatives in November 2014 after climbing the political ladder in Contra Costa County over nearly 25 years, starting on the Concord City Council before moving to the county's Board of Supervisors, followed by the California State Assembly and then the State Senate.
The rest of DeSaulnier's statement on the inauguration read:
"Having watched, listened, and waited during this transition period, I was hopeful the President-elect would turn away from the divisive and contentious behavior exhibited during the campaign and embrace a message to unify all Americans.
"Sadly, we have witnessed one polarizing action after another. Since being elected, he has demonstrated hostility toward our free and open press, committed to gutting health insurance for millions of hardworking families, and is filling his cabinet with nominees more closely aligned with Wall Street than Main Street.
"Earlier this week, the President-elect acknowledged, but took no meaningful steps to mitigate his many personal conflicts of interest. The plan he outlined is wholly inadequate and leaves the American public with more questions than answers.
"It is the duty of the President of the United States to meet the minimum legal and ethical standards outlined in the Constitution. This makes his refusal to follow the precedent set by the last four generations of presidents from both parties gravely concerning.
"As President, the nation will look to him for guidance in times of turmoil and times of plenty. In these moments, the country must have full confidence that his sole focus is on protecting America's interest -- not his own.
"I believe when he places his hand on the Bible and takes the sacred oath that Presidents Washington and Lincoln did before him, he will in that very moment, be in violation of that oath and the Constitution.
"As a student of American history, I cannot sit idly by and normalize a President who has displayed disregard for our past traditions and Constitution. In this critical period of transition, I am reminded of when Benjamin Franklin exited the Constitutional Convention at its completion and approached a group of citizens, one of whom asked 'Mr. Franklin, what have you given us?' to which he replied 'A republic, if you can keep it.'
"On Inauguration Day, I will not be in attendance, but instead preparing to do all I can to keep our republic."