Rep. Mark Pocan to volunteer instead of attending inauguration

Posted at 9:49 PM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-19 23:00:25-05

Until last week, Congressman Mark Pocan, the Madison Democrat, had a seat on a direct flight from Madison to Washington D.C.

"I fully intended to go to the inaugural, no matter who got elected," said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin).

Pocan said a few concerns about President-elect Donald Trump changed his mind. Pocan expressed issues with Trump's conflicts of interest; his feeling that Trump is trivializing what Pocan read in the brief on Russian hacking and election interference; and tweets making statements against Representative John Lewis, a civil rights leader.

"I respect the Office of the President and I don't think Donald Trump respects the Office of the President," said Pocan.

So, Pocan joins more than 60 Democratic congressional colleagues who won't watch Trump become president.

"I'm just trying to get his attention and clearly he cares about how many people show up at the inauguration," he said.

The choice gets mixed reviews from the people he represents.

"There's obviously been some sort of a breakdown, and so following the rules isn't going to work anymore. So, I think, like I said, he's making a statement for what he believes in," Emily Cunningham said.

But Josh Faust, who supports President-elect Trump, said he doesn't feel his representative, Pocan, is behaving appropriately.

"Trump is everybody's president. Regardless of how you feel, we're all Americans and I know the country's divided, but it's not going to work that way, so suck it up and do your job," he said.

His Republican colleague, Representative Sean Duffy feels the decision polarizes a normally unified event.

"This is the one day of a four-year cycle where people take off their 'R' and their 'D' and their liberal and progressive labels we come together as Americans," Duffy told TODAY'S TMJ4.

Pocan plans to volunteer during the event at a local food pantry.  When he does watch the inauguration recording, he hopes to see someone he can find common ground with.

"I'm hoping that he'll show he really wants to be a president for everyone. And that perhaps the temperament and the respect for the office is going to be different than what we've see to this point," Pocan said.

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