U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky is skipping inauguration but will attend Women’s March on Washington


David Fishman/Daily Senior Staffer

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) poses for a picture alongside 98-year-old labor activist Beatrice Lumpkin at an event in Chicago on Sunday. Schakowsky announced Wednesday that she would skip President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration and attend the Women’s March on Washington instead.

David Fishman, Assistant City Editor

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) announced Wednesday that she will not attend Friday’s inauguration, adding her name to a growing list of Democrats boycotting the event out of dismay for President-elect Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policy proposals.

Instead, Schakowsky said she would join the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday alongside more than 200 Evanston residents who also plan on traveling to Washington.

“I have decided to join the growing group of my colleagues who will not attend the inauguration in protest of a president who used bigotry, fear and lies to win an election that was tainted by foreign interference and voter suppression — and who intends to betray the interests of the ordinary working people who put him in office,” Schakowsky said in a statement.

Nina Kavin, an Evanston resident who helped organize buses to the march in Washington, said she was “proud and inspired” by Schakowsky’s decision to join.

“I am thrilled that she will be part of the marching masses of people who are going to march for human rights against bigotry and hate,” Kavin said. “She is listening and reflecting the priorities of her constituents. … It was probably a very, very hard decision.”

Speaking to The Daily after an event Sunday, Schakowsky was still undecided about attending the inauguration. On one hand, she said, she wanted to stand in solidarity with Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), a civil rights icon whom Trump accused of being “all talk” with “no action or results” and accused him of not adequately addressing crime in his district. Those comments came after Lewis said he did not believe Trump was a “legitimate president.”

But Schakowsky also said she felt a need to “be in the room” and “feel the atmosphere around this inauguration.” She also wanted to be sure there was “actually a boycott movement” before opting out.

“I want to be able to report back to my constituents, ‘What did it feel like to be at this inauguration?’” Schakowsky told The Daily on Sunday. “‘How did it compare to the inauguration of Barack Obama? And what did Donald Trump have to say?’”

On Wednesday, however, Schakowsky erased all doubts and joined a growing list of dozens of Democrats boycotting the inauguration. In Illinois, that list includes Reps. Luis Gutierrez and Mike Quigley of Chicago and Rep. Dan Lipinski of Western Springs.

“It’s not like I owe anything — as a member of Congress or an American citizen — to Donald Trump,” Schakowsky told The Daily on Sunday.

Not all Illinois Democrats plan to boycott, however. Both U.S. Senators from Illinois, Democrats Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, are planning to attend the inauguration.

Speaking to reporters at the Sunday event, Durbin called Trump’s comments about Lewis “outrageous” and said he did not look forward to the next four years. Nevertheless, Durbin said he never considered boycotting what will be his ninth inauguration out of respect for the office.

“I spent the last eight years saying to those who were disrespecting this president, ‘You should at least respect the office of the president,’” he told reporters Sunday. “I’m going to do the same. Respect the office.”

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