Another NJ congressman to boycott Trump inauguration; Booker, Menendez will go
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez said they will attend the inauguration of Donald Trump in the interest of peaceful transition of power, but a second New Jersey congressman has said he will boycott the event.
“I have the deepest respect for the office of the presidency, something that cannot be said for President-elect Trump," U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J. 10th District, said Tuesday.
"His actions and statements have consistently been below the dignity of the office, and there’s no indication that will change. Donald Trump will be our president, and I will work with him if my values permit, and if doing so is in the best interest of my constituents and the nation. But I will not celebrate his swearing-in to an office that he has proven unfit to hold.”
U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J. 12th District, also said she will boycott the inauguration. She will instead attend an interfaith service at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton.
Booker said the transition of power is "a process I honor," even though he may not agree with Trump's policies.
"But as soon as that hand goes down and the ceremonies are over it's time to get to work on advancing our nation's ideals," Booker said. "If Donald Trump wants to repeal our healthcare and undermine our justice department ... and go after Muslim Americans and immigrant Americans, all these things I'm going to be fighting to try and stop."
Booker said that he respects the decision of members of Congress who have chosen not to attend.
Menendez will be at the inauguration for many of the same reasons as Booker, according to spokesman Steven Sandberg, and witness the peaceful transfer of power.
"We do it every four years so the senator intends to be there," Sandberg said.
Sandberg said Menendez respects Watson Coleman's decision not to attend. "It's her decision alone to make."
Spokeswoman Katue Pudwill said U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur will be attending the inauguration with his wife Debbie. He did not offer comment on Watson Coleman.
The offices of Frank Pallone, Frank LoBiondo, Donald Norcross and Albio Sires have not returned calls for comment.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.