As of today, there's about 40-50 Democratic members of congress who are boycotting President-elect Trump's inauguration later this week. This number seems to change depending on the new source, and will probably keep changing up to January 20th.

Has this happened in the United States before, where a significant number of members of the legislative branch actively boycotted or protested a president's inauguration?


3 Answers 3


Yes, and there were more than 40-50 Congressmen boycotting the event.

37th President: Richard M. Nixon, Republican
Date: January 20, 1973
One month after the Christmas bombing of North Vietnam, fifteen thousand youthful demonstrators congregated at the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument to protest the policies of the Nixon administration -- and 80 Congressmen boycotted the inaugural ceremonies -- as Nixon entered his second term.

Source (PDF)


Yes. John Lewis did not attend the first Inauguration of George W. Bush.

  • Thanks for your answer. I assumed that over the past century, there were probably a handful that did this--either as individuals like John Lewis, or perhaps a small group or half a dozen. My question is specifically about a "significant number" (which I'm aware is ambiguous). I'm thinking of numbers beyond just a personal grudge or personal thing. Jan 17, 2017 at 18:30

"Republicans to skip Obama inaugural, head out of town"
(January 19th, 2013)

With hundreds of thousands of Democrats traveling to nation’s capital for President Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremonies, Republicans and supporters of last fall’s GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, are leaving town for sunny vacation destinations and company conferences or staying indoors and avoiding the crowds.

  • Link only answers are not encouraged (see: Meta). It's a bad experience for readers (they have to follow your link and assemble all that information into an answer to the question), but there are technical problems to (when that page is moved, the link will break and your entire answer will die). Jan 17, 2017 at 18:36
  • 2
    That article is about people taking a holiday to avoid the crowds, and doesn't answer the question of have members of congress ever previously boycotted a president-elect's inauguration?. In fact, that article explicitly mentions that many GOP members are attending.
    – user11249
    Jan 17, 2017 at 18:40
  • 1
    While this is a good parallel, it doesn't have hard numbers. There's also a distinction here between "not attending" and intentionally boycotting. The tone of that article seems to imply the later was happening in 2013. Jan 17, 2017 at 18:44
  • @Carpetsmoker I have deleted my comments.
    – phoog
    Jan 17, 2017 at 21:30

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