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CA reps divided over whether to attend Trump inauguration




The Capitol in Washington is seen at dawn, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017,  as the city prepares for Friday's inauguration of Donald Trump as president. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The Capitol in Washington is seen at dawn, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, as the city prepares for Friday's inauguration of Donald Trump as president. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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At last count, nearly 60 Democratic lawmakers from across the country say they plan on skipping Donald Trump's swearing in ceremonies. 

California has the most Congressional representatives, so it should come as no surprise that the state leads the list of no-shows.

Among them, Congresswoman Judy Chu, who represents the 27th district.

But the decision isn't an organized one. Her colleague, Congressman Brad Sherman of the 30th district will be attending. 

To hear their reasoning, Take Two spoke to both. 

Representative Judy Chu

Donald Trump becomes president of the United States at 9:01 AM our time Friday. Most of your colleagues in the House will be there. You will not. Why not?

Congresswoman Chu: I was mulling it over. I felt very conflicted because of my feelings about Trump's policies. 

However, on Saturday morning when he decided to disparage our civil rights icon, the person who ensured that the Voting Rights Act would be implemented, my friend and colleague John Lewis... I cannot believe that he would disparage him on Martin Luther King weekend and that he would also do something so offensive only days before his inauguration.

This is the time he should be unifying the country, but instead, he's actually disparaging one of our actual American heroes. 

So it's fair to say that this was the straw that broke the camel's back for you?

Oh, absolutely, yes. 

Before that, what was your reason for going? 

I respect the office of the presidency, and I also believe in the peaceful transition of power. That's what makes America strong. I would have done it just for that sake. However, Trump has shown himself not to be respecting the office of the presidency, and that's what led to my decision that day. 

Representative Brad Sherman

You just heard your colleague, Representative Chu. She's not going. You are. Why? 

Well, we have a legal process for the transfer of power and it's easy to respect that process when it gives us a good result. But the real test is whether you respect it when it gives you the wrong answer as in this case. 

I think the right legal process here is to use our legal process to have an independent council look into whether or not the Trump campaign was coordinating in any way with the Russians. That's the legal process. 

Boycotts of presidential inaugurations are not new. John Adams boycotted Thomas Jefferson's inauguration. We've seen this take place in the past. But in the vast majority of cases, we respect and go along with and participate in the process, and that's what I'll be doing without much joy. 

So is Representative Chu and the others who are not going not respecting the process?

They're making a decision based on some of the horrendous things that Donald Trump has said. I respect that decision just as I've never criticized John Adams for not attending Thomas Jefferson's inauguration. 

Based on everything you've said so far, it sounds like you're going to be there, but maybe with a heavy heart or not entirely happy to be there —

Oh, I'm not going there to be happy, no. I mean, if somebody else could be the congressman for a day, I'd be happier if they took my seat, but I do have this role, and I think that it's right for me to play it. 

Press the blue play button above to hear both interviews. 
(Answers have been edited for clarity.)