RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Deciding to conduct a day of service, newly elected Democratic Congressman Donald McEachin spent inauguration day, along with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, here in Richmond. McEachin was one of dozens of congressman who chose to skip the ceremony. McEachin says his decision was based on the president’s actions since being elected.
“While he acknowledges the Russian hacking, he has yet to condemn it,” McEachin said. “He preached nothing but hate during the campaign, and even after the campaign he was vitriolic and was not a unifying figure. So I thought my time was best spent here in the district with my constituents.”
McEachin said that he hopes the president takes the absence of lawmakers at his inauguration to heart and that he works to become more unifying.
“I hope that he will begin the process of trying to be the president of all these United States,” McEachin said.
Meanwhile, Governor Terry McAuliffe said he has known Trump for 20 years, has had dinner with him and has had him donate to his campaigns. His reason for skipping the event was different from that of McEachin.
“I have work to do here. I mean, I’m busy all day. We started early this morning; I’ll go late this evening,” McAuliffe said. “I have a lot of activities. The voters elected me, the taxpayers want to get a full day’s work out of [me] and going up and standing in a crowd … I got work to do.”
Even though they weren’t there to support him during his inauguration, the governor and congressman both vowed to work with the president where they can.
“I think we’ll have a good working relationship on those things that will make Virginia stronger,” McAuliffe said. “My voice will be known on things that he does that hurt Virginia, and I will be very vocal about that.”
McEachin echoed his governor.
“I’ll treat him like any other president,” he said. “When he’s right, I’ll support him. When he’s wrong, I’ll oppose him.”