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Central Coast congressmen won't boycott Trump inauguration

Courtesy of Steven Shepard/ Presidio of Monterey Public Affairs.
Rep. Jimmy Panetta speaks during the 2015 Honor Our Fallen Run/Walk in Monterey County.

The two men who represent the Central Coast in Washington DC said Tuesday they plan to attend Friday’s presidential inauguration. But only out of respect for the office, not the man assuming it.

Congressman Jimmy Panetta, a Democrat who represents Monterey County, said in a statement although he “vehemently disagrees with Donald Trump on many levels and is outraged by many of his statements,” Panetta wants to be there for the peaceful transition of power, a foundation of American democracy, he said.

“Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States of America and it’s long past time for him to assume those responsibilities with the seriousness, wisdom and humility of his predecessors,” Panetta said. “Trump’s insults are reprehensible, especially the latest outburst targeted at my colleague and civil rights icon Representative John Lewis.”

Panetta said he will be there to meet with Central Coast residents visiting the nation’s capitol for the inauguration or the march planned for the following day. According to Panetta's office, among the visitors will be 100 students from Salinas’ Dream Academy.

Democrat Salud Carbajal, who represents San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, said he also will attend.

“I am not attending this inauguration in celebration of a man that I do not respect, but rather to bear witness to our democratic institutions,” Carbajal said. “I want [Trump] to see the face of a Mexican immigrant newly elected to serve as the first Latino representative for the Central Coast and to know that the many groups he has disparaged and attacked over the course of his campaign have a strong voice in our government.”

Carbajal said he plans to participate in the Women’s March on Washington, happening Saturday, Jan. 21.

Dozens of Democratic members of the House of Representatives have announced they will boycott the inauguration. California Senator Kamala Harris has said she will attend; as of Tuesday, Senator Feinstein had not yet decided due to recent surgery.