Today, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement announcing his decision to attend the inauguration of President-Elect Donald J. Trump.

“I plan to attend President-Elect Trump’s inauguration.  This is a decision each Member must make for himself
or herself.

Like many of my colleagues, I have been fighting my entire life to create a more equal society for all Americans, so I certainly understand why some of them have come to the conclusion that they cannot attend.

“There are so many people who came before me who struggled so that African Americans could be full participants in our democracy.  I believe that I honor their sacrifice by asserting my democratic right to attend
an inauguration.

“The inauguration is bigger than President-Elect Trump.  It is a chance for the world to witness our nation’s greatest ritual:  the peaceful transfer of power.  As millions of Americans witness the event, I want them to know that there will be Members of Congress present who will be vigilant to ensure that the Trump Administration is held to the highest ethical standards.  Our democracy is the strongest in the world because our powerful executive is checked by an equally powerful legislative branch.

“All Members of Congress—Republicans and Democrats serving in the House and Senate—swore to uphold the Constitution and protect the American people.  It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to make sure that our federal agencies operate the way they were intended, and in an efficient and
effective manner.

“In two days, President-Elect Trump will control the world’s most powerful military and largest nuclear arsenal, and he will be the steward of the world’s largest economy.  I fear that during his Administration, our political institutions will suffer a crisis of legitimacy.  Many of our federal agencies, including the CIA and the FBI, will be tested.

“Unfortunately, House Republicans have made clear that they have no intention of checking the Trump Administration.  Instead, they have become contortionists in their efforts to avoid doing their jobs and have coordinated with the Trump campaign in their attacks on our nation’s top ethics officials.

“Congress cannot sit by as a President fails to rectify his many conflicts of interest and refuses to acknowledge his impending violations of the Emoluments Clause. We must act as the last line of defense for our democracy, press Republicans to do their jobs, and hold President-Elect Trump accountable to the American people and the rule of law.  We must also guard the progress that was made under President Obama by turning our protest into policy, and advancing legislation that will uplift the lives of the
American people.”