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Trump Inauguration boycotts raise controversy

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Linda Cheng
  Staff Writer

With Donald J. Trump becoming the 45th president of the United States, many – including performers and politicians –  expressed displeasure by boycotting his inauguration. Some attended organized protests, such as the Women’s March On Washington, and and others decided to simply not attending the inauguration.

Among these boycotters are dozens of Democratic members of Congress. The most common explanations offered are Trump’s Twitter battle with esteemed civil rights leader Representative John Lewis on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, his ongoing refusal to rebuke Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, and his offensive remarks regarding minorities.

Some of the Democratic members of Congress also planned to stand in solidarity with women at the Women’s March on Washington, a large organized boycott of Donald J. Trump and his crude remarks about grabbing women by the genitals. Others simply say there are scheduling conflicts.

“My absence is not motivated by disrespect for the office or motivated by disrespect for the government that we have in this great democracy,” Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) stated, “but as an individual act, yes, of defiance at the disrespect shown to millions and millions of Americans by this incoming administration, and the actions we are taking in this Congress.”

Some elected officials, like Congresswoman Karen Bass, a California Democrat, started a Twitter poll with the options of attending or boycotting the inauguration.

According to a tweet 12 hours after the poll was finished, Bass elected against attendance.

“After receiving an overwhelming response on the twitter poll, I’ve decided not to attend the inauguration of President-Elect Donald J. Trump,” Bass announced.

“An inauguration should be a celebration,” Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) said. “But we have nothing to celebrate on January 20th. Instead of attending, I will be organizing.”

Along with civilians and elected officials boycotting Trump’s inauguration, many celebrities have also joined the fray.

The Trump team’s vehement denial that they had trouble finding A-list celebrities to perform at the inauguration proved to be on shaky ground.

Among celebrities declined to perform at the inauguration are Elton John, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Kiss, Garth Brooks, David Foster, Jennifer Holliday, Chainsmokers, and Ice T. The list of celebrities who backed Hillary Clinton from the start is an even more star studded list; including Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Jon Bon Jovi, and Lady Gaga.

The Rockettes, a precision dance company, sparked outrage on social media when they announced their decision to perform at Trump’s inauguration ceremony amid reports from multiple sources and one Rockette dancer that they were contractually obligated to dance at the inauguration.

Since the reports, the spokespeople of the Rockettes have been quick to deny that the dancers are contractually required to participate:

“For a Rockette to be considered for an event, they must voluntarily sign up and are never told they have to perform at a particular event, including the inaugural. It is always their choice.”

Despite this hasty assurance, many of the women in the Rockettes may still feel pressured to perform. In an email obtained by The New York Times from the union to the dancers, the union stated that dancers were expected to perform.

“If you are full time, you are obligated,” the union letter read. “Doing the best performance to reflect an American institution which has been here for over 90 years is your job. I hope this pulls into focus the bottom line of this work.”

Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down, Jon Voight, Michael Flattley, and the Radio City Rockettes performed at Trump’s Inauguration.

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