WASHINGTON (AFP) - US congressman John Lewis, a civil rights icon, on Friday (Jan 13) became the most high-profile Democratic lawmaker to announce he is boycotting Donald Trump's inauguration next week, saying he sees the president-elect as illegitimate.
At least eight House Democrats have publicly stated they will not be attending Trump's swearing in at the US Capitol on Jan 20, with several indicating their absence will be an act of political protest against the incoming Republican president.
"I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president," Lewis told NBC's Meet the Press talk show in an interview that will air Sunday.
"I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton," he said, adding that he will skip the presidential inauguration for the first time since becoming a member of Congress in 1987.
"You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong."
US intelligence organisations have accused Russia of cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and distributing hacked emails from senior Clinton aides in an effort to influence the US election.
Democrat Raul Grijalva, the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, announced his boycott Friday in a House speech, slamming what he said were Trump's bigotry and provocative attacks on many Americans.
"An individual act, yes, of defiance at the disrespect shown to millions and millions of Americans by this incoming administration and by the actions we're taking in this Congress," Grijalva said, adding that he plans to meet with constituents and immigration activists instead.
"Respect is a two-way street and I want to respect the constituents that feel left out right now," Grijalva said.
Liberal California congresswoman Barbara Lee expressed similar concerns.
"I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House," Lee said in a statement.
The announcements did not appear to emerge out of any organized effort to boycott the inauguration.
Former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have all said they will attend, as has Trump's vanquished election rival Hillary Clinton.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez is among those not attending. Instead, he said, he and his wife will join the following day's Women's March, an anti-Trump protest that is expected to draw thousands of people to Washington.
US representatives Earl Blumenauer, Nydia Velazquez, Katherine Clark and Jared Huffman have also publicly announced they will skip the inauguration.