Kentucky’s lone Democrat on Capitol Hill, Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville, said he won’t be attending Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday.
Yarmuth cited Trump’s comments over the weekend disparaging Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a civil rights icon who questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s election.
Yarmuth added that constituents had voiced concerns for months about Trump’s remarks on women, the disabled, immigrants and others, as well as his praise for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“We must send the message that this behavior is not acceptable from the leader of our nation,” Yarmuth said in a statement. “Not attending the inauguration is one way for me to do that.”
Yarmuth, a 10-term lawmaker, once worked as a staffer to the late Kentucky Sen. Marlow Cook, a moderate Republican who mentored Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Yarmuth was one of many members of Congress who defended Lewis over the weekend. He called Trump’s comments on Lewis “ignorant.”
Yarmuth added that he wasn’t questioning the legitimacy of Trump’s election.
“As the transition of power is a hallmark that must be honored, this is not a decision I make lightly,” he said. “It’s not my intent to protest the election results or to make a statement about policy.”