Illinois Lawmakers Defend Inauguration No-Shows, Slam Trump's Speech

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jan 20, 2017 8:18PM

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) was one of the several Illinois lawmakers who skipped President Donald Trump's inauguration ceremony on Friday—and judging from her review of his (Bane-plagiarizing) speech, it looks like she's happy with her call.

“President Trump’s populist speech promised to return power to the American people. Which people?” Schakowsky said in a statement, before agin registering her displeasure with the president's controversial picks for Secretary of Education and Attorney General.

"His populist rhetoric is a big con—but reality has a way of catching up," she added.

Other representatives from Illinois who chose not to attend Trump's swearing-in include Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Dan Lipinski and Mike Quigley.

Gutierrez's camp said reaction from his constituents was huge and overwhelmingly positive. “We usually get a lot of haters calling and trolling the Congressman on Facebook and Twitter because he is Latino and has been outspoken on immigration, guns, Planned Parenthood and other issues,” Douglas Rivlin, the Congressman’s Director of Communication, said in a statement earlier this week,“but the response has been overwhelmingly positive to his family’s decision to skip the inauguration. Congressman GutiĆ©rrez apparently articulated what a lot of people are feeling with his comments that Trump’s rhetoric on women, people of color and people of different religions made it such that he did not want to attend the inauguration. So many people have called with their messages of support, especially women. Our phones are ringing off the hook.”

However, Illinois' two senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both Democrats, were in attendance at the inauguration on Friday.

Durbin explained his decision to attend, by way of statement:

“My presence is an acknowledgement that once again America has achieved what so many nations have failed to do: peacefully transition to new leadership. Absent clear and convincing evidence that the new president was not legitimately chosen, it is critical to a democracy that those who lose the election acknowledge the choice of the American electorate.”

Translation: I'm a senator and have a much bigger voting bloc, so lemme just get through this.

A representative for the Illinois Democratic Party did not immediately return request for comment. This post will be updated as necessary.

Update, 3:45 p.m.:

Tammy Duckworth was diplomatic in a statement released on Friday afternoon, praising the peaceful transition of power, pledging to work with the new administration where possible and pledging to fight attempts to roll back civil rights:

“Today is an important day because—no matter what part of this nation we are from or which political party we belong to—we are united as Americans, as citizens of the greatest democracy on earth. Today, as we have for hundreds of years, we saw the peaceful transition of power and once again demonstrated to the world what true democracy really is.

“Whether you agree with our new President’s policies or not, this day would not have been possible were it not for the blood spilled by those who have worn our nation’s uniform and borne the burden of our nation’s battles. Regardless of who takes the oath of office, the peaceful transition of power from one President to the next also honors the sacrifices made by those who’ve fought to ensure that, as President Lincoln said, a ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’

“It is in that spirit, and with recognition for those who’ve sacrificed greatly for me to be here today, that I am ready to work with the new administration to jumpstart our economy, create good-paying jobs for Illinoisans and make significant investments in our infrastructure. I am also committed to fighting attempts to restrict the civil rights of any American, attempts to roll back policies that help Illinoisans and attempts to pass policies that needlessly put our Veterans, our troops or our national security at risk."