WASHINGTON — While two dozen or more congressional Democrats say they’ll boycott Friday’s inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, New York’s two senators and three of the five House members representing Long Island said Sunday they will attend the ceremony.
The only two members of the Long Island delegation who haven’t declared what they will do are Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), who did not respond to queries, and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans), who said on Saturday he’s still making up his mind.
The boycott picked up steam after Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said on NBC’s Meet the Press that he doesn’t see Trump “as a legitimate president” because of Russian interference in the election, and Trump shot back in a tweet that Lewis was “all talk ... no actions or results. Sad!”
Meeks defended Lewis, a civil rights activist beaten in the 1965 march on Selma, Alabama, saying, “If there is anybody that has stood for democracy and making this country better it’s been John Lewis. He’s all action.”
Meeks said he is “soul searching” on whether to attend the inauguration. If he goes, he told MSNBC Saturday, it will be because he has “a responsibility” as a congressman and that despite Trump he has “respect the office of the presidency.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted his support for Lewis, but Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said he was “disappointed” in him.
The Lewis-Trump exchange prompted Trump-supporting Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) to urge partisans on both sides to act like adults.
“John Lewis is a Civil Rights Icon. Donald Trump is a legitimate President,” Zeldin said in a statement. “All children in our great country are relying on us to be adults all day, every day ... The noise may be great for TV ratings, but its downhill from there.”