NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) announced Monday at the historic Mason Temple, the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final speech, that he would not be attending the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Friday, January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Here are his full remarks:
Eight years ago, Barack Obama became the first African-American President of the United States. His campaign was based on hope and change. But at this time in our history, hope and change have unfortunately become fear and dread. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is turning into a nightmare. The man who will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States repudiated Barack Obama from the beginning of his presidency, questioning his legitimacy, saying he wasn’t born in this country, therefore he shouldn’t be and was not legally the President of the United States of America. That was racism and it was a lie, and it was fake news, and it was wrong!
Donald Trump continued with that same vein, saying that Vladimir Putin, one of the meanest, cruelest people in power in the world, was a greater leader than Barack Obama. Your values speak to your leadership. What you do with your leadership speaks to your values. When you are for evil, for killing, for stopping democracy, and for stopping people who speak out and not allowing them to express themselves, you are not a great leader. You are an evil leader.
This president-elect said John McCain was not a hero. He said so much about Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants and people with disabilities that was despicable. He took on a woman named Meryl Streep, who is one of the great actresses of all time and a saint in many people’s eyes, and condemns her on Twitter.
I had a decision to make on whether or not to attend the inauguration. I would love to attend the inauguration. I am a member of Congress through the votes of my constituents. I value our government. I appreciate it greatly. But this president ‘semi-elect’ does not deserve to be President of the United States. He has not exhibited the characteristics or the values that we hold dear. That Dr. King held dear. That John Lewis holds dear. And when he questioned the integrity of my friend, colleague and civil rights icon John Lewis, that crossed the Rubicon. I sat on the floor of the House of Representatives with John Lewis to protest the inability of the Republican Congress to give us a vote on gun violence. I sat with John Lewis then. And I will stand with John Lewis now. Therefore, I will not be attending the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America this week.