More than 1 in 4 California members of Congress are skipping Trump's inauguration

There’s a lot Rep. Jared Huffman would rather do than go to Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday. So he’s going to stay home.

"I’ll spend that day, and actually several days, in my district doing service events and community events to try to send a positive message with my time rather than sitting passively and applauding while something that I think is very dark and dangerous for our country begins,” said Huffman, a Democrat from San Rafael.

Among other things, Huffman plans to spend the weekend helping with a river cleanup, participating in a naturalization ceremony for new citizens and joining a local women’s march against the Republican president-elect. 

“I’m going to be far busier in my district and in my community doing positive things than I ever would have been coming to Washington for that ceremony,” Huffman said.

As of Wednesday, 37 of California’s 55-member delegation said they planned to attend the inauguration, where members of Congress have some of the best seats to view the peaceful transfer of power. That includes all 14 of the delegation’s Republicans. Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) said: “I attended both of Obama’s. You better believe I’ll be attending Trump’s!"

But at least 16 California House Democrats are skipping the inauguration. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), who is under consideration to be California's next attorney general, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who recently had a pacemaker installed, have not decided.

Some told The Times last week they are they being motivated to stay home by outcry from constituents in a state that overwhelmingly picked Democrat Hillary Clinton for president. Others said Trump’s comments and the moves he’s made since building his Cabinet drove them to take a pass.

Most of the members who aren’t going made up their minds not to attend even before Trump criticized civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who announced on Friday he wouldn’t be going and said he believed Trump wouldn’t be a legitimate president. 

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) said last week that her conscience won’t permit her to attend.

“An inauguration for me is a celebratory event, and while I appreciate and honor the peaceful transition of power, for me to celebrate someone who wants to build a wall, who wants to establish a Muslim registry, who wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and who has appointed a person as attorney general such as Jeff Sessions ... I can’t celebrate that,” Lee said.

"I acknowledge the fact that he is the incoming president, but I’m not in the mood to celebrate that fact,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose).

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) said he struggled with the decision and sought advice from colleagues and constituents before ultimately deciding not to go.

“He’s shown such disrespect for some of the people I represent and it’s a hard thing for me to get over, and he’s not really dialed it back or tried to show that he’s going to be different,” Takano said. “I want to be respectful of the office, but at the same time I also want to represent my constituents.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) is using his week free of House votes to do his Air Force Reserve duty on Tuesday and Wednesday. He’ll be done before Friday’s ceremony, but said he doesn’t see the point of coming back for it.

Lieu and Trump will find topics to agree on, “but that doesn’t mean I need to be at his inauguration,” he said. “I’ll watch it on television, but do I want to ... spend taxpayer money to fly me here to watch it?”

Multiple members who had been wavering made up their minds on Tuesday not to go.

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Los Angeles), who isn’t going, said last week he was struggling to give Trump the deference he would normally extend a president regardless of party. 

“I think about all the people that he has offended, over and over, past and present, and it’s painful to think that I would bring myself to actually go out there and sit there and subject myself to him just 50 feet away,” Cárdenas said.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), who had wanted to say goodbye to President Obama, ultimately chose to stay home. Her constituents voted overwhelmingly for Clinton, and she asked them to weigh in on a Twitter poll over the weekend. The majority of the nearly 13,000 responses told her not to go.

Rep. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego), a former Jesuit missionary, on Tuesday said he’ll spend the time praying for the country and for Trump.

“I have a great deal of respect for the office of the president, but after the things that the president-elect has said … I don’t want to be a hypocrite and pretend like I have respect for him,” Vargas said last week. “I studied to be a priest for a long time and we all make mistakes, but the things that he has said, the mocking of disabled people in particular, the things he’s said about Mexicans, it would be very hard for me to be in a place like that celebrating.”

Several Democrats who have decided to go said their choice was made easier because they’ll also attend the Women’s March on Washington, a protest expected to draw many thousands to the National Mall the day after the inauguration. Many members who are not attending the inauguration said they will participate in associated women’s marches in California.

Freshman Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) said he struggled with whether to go before deciding it was more important to make a statement by attending than to make a statement by staying home.

“I was trying to reconcile everything that happened during the election. Clearly, with President-elect Trump it’s not just a difference on policy. His behavior, the hateful things he said about many people, including myself — somebody who is Mexican — veterans, the disabled, really touched me in a very profound way,” he said. Carbajal was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. as a child.

He says joining some constituents for the women’s march afterward is “a way to be present, to symbolize that I will be at least one member of Congress among many that he will have to deal with as he implements his agenda.”

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands) said attending the march after going to the inauguration is a chance to exercise his rights as a citizen.

“To respect the office of the presidency and yet be able to turn around the next day and to say that not everything that he’s said represents the values of San Bernardino County or this country — that’s America,” he said.

House Republicans

YES  Rep. Ken Calvert (Corona)

YES  Rep. Paul Cook (Yucca Valley)

YES  Rep. Jeff Denham (Turlock)

YES  Rep. Duncan Hunter (Alpine)

YES  Rep. Darrell Issa (Vista)

YES  Rep. Steve Knight (Palmdale)

YES  Rep. Doug LaMalfa (Richvale)

YES  Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Bakersfield)

YES  Rep. Tom McClintock (Elk Grove)

YES  Rep. Devin Nunes (Tulare)

YES  Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Costa Mesa)

YES  Rep. Ed Royce (Fullerton)

YES  Rep. David Valadao (Hanford)

YES  Rep. Mimi Walters (Irvine)

House Democrats

YES  Rep. Pete Aguilar (Redlands)

YES  Rep. Nanette Barragán (San Pedro)

NO Rep. Karen Bass (Los Angeles)

NOT SURE  Rep. Xavier Becerra (Los Angeles)

YES  Rep. Ami Bera (Elk Grove)

YES  Rep. Julia Brownley (Westlake Village)

YES  Rep. Salud Carbajal (Santa Barbara)

NO Rep. Tony Cárdenas (Los Angeles)

NO  Rep. Judy Chu (Monterey Park)

YES  Rep. Lou Correa (Santa Ana)

YES  Rep. Jim Costa (Fresno)

YES  Rep. Susan A. Davis (San Diego)

NO  Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (Concord)

YES  Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (Menlo Park)

YES  Rep. John Garamendi (Walnut Grove)

NO  Rep. Jared Huffman (San Rafael)

YES  Rep. Ro Khanna (Fremont)

NO  Rep. Barbara Lee (Oakland)

NO  Rep. Ted Lieu (Torrance)

NO  Rep. Zoe Lofgren (San Jose)

NO  Rep. Alan Lowenthal (Long Beach)

YES  Rep. Doris Matsui (Sacramento)

NO  Rep. Jerry McNerney (Stockton)

NO  Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (Norwalk)

YES  Rep. Jimmy Panetta (Carmel)

YES  Rep. Nancy Pelosi (San Francisco)

YES  Rep. Scott Peters (San Diego)

NO  Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (Downey)

NO  Rep. Raul Ruiz (Palm Desert)

YES  Rep. Linda T. Sanchez (Whittier)

YES  Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Burbank)

YES  Rep. Brad Sherman (Sherman Oaks)

YES  Rep. Jackie Speier (Hillsborough)

YES  Rep. Eric Swalwell (Dublin)

NO  Rep. Mark Takano (Riverside)

YES  Rep. Mike Thompson (St. Helena)

YES  Rep. Norma J. Torres (Pomona)

NO Rep. Juan Vargas (San Diego)

NO  Rep. Maxine Waters (Los Angeles)

Senate Democrats

NOT SURE  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

YES  Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)

sarah.wire@latimes.com

Follow @sarahdwire on Twitter

Read more about the 55 members of California's delegation at latimes.com/politics

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UPDATES:

Jan. 18, 1 p.m.: This article was updated with Rep. Lowenthal’s decision.

Jan. 17, 9:50 a.m.: This article was updated with more members of Congress who have decided not to attend the inauguration.

This article was originally posted Jan. 15 at 3 a.m.

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