Democratic boycott of Trump inauguration gains support

More than 30 members of the US Congress will boycott Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday

The President-elect lashed out at Lewis on Twitter on Friday after Lewis said he was not a 'legitimate President'
The President-elect lashed out at Lewis on Twitter on Friday after Lewis said he was not a 'legitimate President'

More than 30 members of Congress will boycott Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, amid escalating outrage over alleged connections between the president-elect’s team and Russia and disparaging remarks about civil rights veteran John Lewis.

The President-elect lashed out at Lewis on Twitter on Friday after Lewis said he was not a "legitimate President".

Trump said that Lewis was "All talk, talk, talk - no action or results".

Lewis was a prominent member of America's civil rights movement and is a hero to many Americans. He was among those beaten by police during the infamous Selma-Montgomery voting rights march of 1965.

As Americans celebrate Martin Luther King Day, the children of the slain civil rights leader - a contemporary of Lewis - have spoken out about the spat.

Martin Luther King III played down the row following a meeting with Trump in New York that he described as "very constructive". “We have got to move forward,” he added.

He said that in the heat of the moment "a lot of things get said on both sides".

Lewis joined the House of Representatives in 1987 and has served Georgia's fifth congressional district, which Trump went on to call "crime-infested", ever since.

The President-elect's insults, made just days ahead of Martin Luther King Day, were the final straw for a number of Democrats who will break with tradition by missing the inauguration ceremony on Friday.

"When you insult Rep. John Lewis, you insult America," Yvette Clarke, one of five representatives for New York who will boycott the event, said. There are 535 members of Congress, across both houses.

California representative Ted Lieu said: "For me, the personal decision not to attend Inauguration is quite simple: Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis."

Illinois representative Luis Gutierrez was the first member of congress to say he would boycott the inauguration - announcing his decision in December.

"I could not look my wife, my daughters, or my grandson in the eye if I sat there and attended, as if everything that the candidate said about the women, the Latinos, the blacks, the Muslims, or any of those other things he said in those speeches and tweets, and that all of that is okay or erased from our collective memory," Gutierrez told the House.

He has said he will attend the alternative Women's March on Washington the following day.

Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress and a candidate for chair of the Democratic National Committee, has decided to be among those boycotting the inauguration.