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Baldwin, Kind both attending inauguration while Pocan skips

By CARA LOMBARDOJanuary 17, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan isn’t attending President-elect Donald Trump’s swearing-in ceremony Friday, but his congressional Democratic colleagues plan to join Republicans in Washington.

Pocan is one of more than 50 House Democrats who say they plan to boycott the event because they believe Trump is a threat to democracy.

But Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Ron Kind both plan to be in Washington. U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, has not said whether she will attend, and her spokesman did not return messages Tuesday seeking comment.

Trump was the first Republican to win the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984, even though Trump lost Wisconsin’s GOP primary to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. All Republican members of Congress from Wisconsin say they’ll be there, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, of Janesville, who has been working closely with Trump during the transition and has criticized Democrats who plan to boycott the inauguration, saying it sends the wrong message at a time when the country needs unity. Also attending is U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, of Wausau, who was one of Trump’s earliest and most vocal supporters both in Wisconsin and nationally.

Gov. Scott Walker also plans to go to Trump’s inauguration, which will be the first he’s attended as governor. He was at both of George W. Bush’s inaugurations before he was governor.

A spokesman for Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said she’ll miss this year’s ceremony — but only because one of her daughters has a national cheerleading competition.

“This is just one of those times where her job as a mom comes first,” Charles Nichols said, adding that Kleefisch will be at Trump’s inauguration “in spirit.” Kleefisch also did not participate in a coalition of Wisconsin women for Trump, saying she didn’t have time.

Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, 75, is an inauguration veteran, having attended every one from Reagan’s in 1981 through 2005 when Bush was sworn in for a second term. He’s witnessed inaugurations from the audience, seated with other governors and on the podium as a member of the Cabinet.

“I’ve been to so many inaugurations, I wasn’t planning on going to this one,” Thompson said Tuesday. But when he was invited by the Trump team, he decided to go.

“It’s a peaceful changing of power,” Thompson said. “Everybody ought to be excited.”

A number of state lawmakers also plan to travel to Washington, including Sen. Leah Vukmir and state Reps. Tyler August, John Nygren and Ken Skowronski.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald will be in town for a gathering of Wisconsin lawmakers but his schedule does not include official inauguration events, spokeswoman Myranda Tanck said. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos will not make it, spokeswoman Kit Beyer said.

Pocan issued a statement Sunday saying he decided not to attend after Trump’s “offensive Tweets” about Democratic Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights leader who challenged Trump’s legitimacy as president. Lewis’s announcement last week that he would skip the inauguration prompted a flurry of other Democrats to back out.


Associated Press writer Scott Bauer contributed to this report.


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