Georgia representative and civil-rights leader John Lewis announced last week that he will boycott President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20. “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. “You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right.”
Since Lewis announced his boycott of the inauguration, and Trump subsequently denounced Lewis as “all talk, talk, talk — no action or results,” the ranks of Democratic representatives staying home rather than witnessing the peaceful transition of power have swelled to over two dozen.
Newspapers continue to cite the boycott as an unprecedented act. For example, the Sacramento Bee claimed that the boycott was “breaking with generations of past precedent.” And Business Insider erroneously reported that the 2017 inauguration will be “the first time he [Lewis] will miss an inauguration since 1986,” the year he was elected to Congress.
But this isn’t the first time Lewis has boycotted a presidential inauguration. According to a Washington Post article written on January 21, 2001, Lewis and other members of the Black Caucus boycotted George W. Bush’s inauguration because they didn’t “believe Bush is the true elected president.” Lewis spent the day in his Atlanta district.