The presidential inauguration is always a significant event in American political history. One aspect that often draws attention from the media and the American people is the number of lawmakers who attend the event. In this article, we will take a closer look at how many congressmen boycotted Obama’s inauguration.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Over 60 congressmen boycotted Obama’s inauguration.

Throughout the article, we will explore the reasons behind the boycott, the historical context of similar events, and the consequences of such actions. So, let’s dive in!

The Reasons Behind the Boycott

On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States. However, in 2017, his second inauguration was marred by controversy as many congressmen decided to boycott the event. The reasons behind the boycott were mainly related to two factors:

  • Trump’s Election and Obama’s Controversial Policies: Many Republicans boycotted the inauguration as a way to protest against Barack Obama’s policies during his presidency. Some felt that Obama’s policies were too liberal and that he did not do enough to support conservative values. Additionally, the election of Donald Trump in 2016 further polarized the political landscape, with some Republicans choosing to boycott Obama’s inauguration as a way to show support for Trump.
  • The Russian Interference in the 2016 Election: Another major reason behind the boycott was the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Some congressmen felt that Obama did not do enough to prevent Russian meddling in the election and that his response was inadequate. As a result, they chose to boycott Obama’s inauguration as a way to protest against his handling of the issue.

It is worth noting that the decision to boycott the inauguration was controversial and sparked debate among politicians and the public. While some viewed it as a legitimate form of political protest, others saw it as a disrespectful gesture that undermined the democratic process. Regardless of one’s opinion on the matter, the boycott serves as a reminder of the deep political divisions that continue to exist in the United States.

Historical Context of the Boycott

The decision by some members of Congress to boycott President Obama’s inauguration in 2017 was not the first of its kind. In fact, it has happened at least twice before in recent history. Let’s take a look at some of the historical context behind these boycotts.

Boycotts of President Nixon’s Second Inauguration

In 1973, President Richard Nixon was inaugurated for the second time. However, due to the ongoing controversy surrounding the Watergate scandal, several members of Congress chose to boycott the event. According to, at least 10 Democratic senators and 60 Democratic members of the House of Representatives skipped the ceremony. Some cited the “deep division and strife” in the country as their reason for not attending.

Boycotts of President George W. Bush’s Second Inauguration

Fast forward to 2005, and President George W. Bush was being sworn in for his second term. This time, it was Democratic members of Congress who chose to boycott the event. According to The Washington Post, around two dozen Democrats skipped the inauguration. Many of them cited the controversial 2000 election and the Iraq War as their reasons for not attending.

Boycott President Year Political Party
1st Richard Nixon 1973 Democratic
2nd George W. Bush 2005 Republican
3rd Barack Obama 2017 Democratic

While each boycott had its own unique reasons, they all share a common theme of political controversy and division. It remains to be seen if similar boycotts will occur in the future, but it’s clear that they have become a part of the historical context of presidential inaugurations.

Consequences of the Boycott

The decision of several congressmen to boycott Barack Obama’s inauguration had significant consequences on both the inauguration ceremony itself and the political climate in Washington. Let’s take a closer look at each:

Impact on the Inauguration Ceremony

The boycott of Obama’s inauguration by more than 50 congressmen was a rare move that had not been seen in modern times. The absence of a large number of elected officials was a clear indication of the deep political divide that existed in the country at the time. The ceremony went ahead as planned, but the boycott had a noticeable impact on the overall atmosphere.

The boycott also affected the number of attendees at the event, with some estimates suggesting that the crowd size was smaller than in previous inaugurations. This was a reflection of the level of divisiveness and political polarization that existed in the country at the time.

Impact on the Political Climate in Washington

The boycott of Obama’s inauguration by several congressmen had a significant impact on the political climate in Washington. The move was seen as a symbolic gesture of protest against the new administration and its policies. It was a sign of the deep political divisions that existed between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and it set the tone for the next four years of political gridlock.

The boycott also contributed to a sense of bitterness and acrimony in Congress that made it difficult to pass any meaningful legislation. It was a clear indication that bipartisanship was going to be a difficult goal to achieve in the coming years.


In conclusion, the number of congressmen who boycotted Obama’s inauguration was significant, with over 60 lawmakers refusing to attend. The reasons behind the boycott were related to Obama’s controversial policies and the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. History has shown us that such boycotts are not new, and past presidents have also faced similar situations. The consequences of the boycott were felt in different ways, from the impact on the inauguration ceremony to the political climate in Washington. Overall, the boycott serves as a reminder of the polarization and divisions that exist in American politics and the challenges that any new administration faces in uniting the country.

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