Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Democrat, regularly slammed Republican Donald Trump during the election. But that was about policy. While Walsh said he won't be attending Trump's inauguration Friday, he said he is not boycotting. Walsh said he is ready to move forward in the spirit of unity, thus refusing to join the more than 60 Democrats who plan to boycott the event.
“I sent a letter thanking the President-elect for the invitation—I am absolutely not boycotting the inauguration,” Walsh told Boston Public Radio in a call Thursday from the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. “Listen, I did not support Donald Trump, I did not vote for Donald Trump, I have been critical of Donald Trump, before he was elected and since he’s been elected, to some degree. But I’ve also said, since the beginning, we have to believe and trust in our Democracy… we have a Democracy that’s bigger than all of us.”
More than 60 Democrats, including Congresswoman Katherine Clark and U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, announced a boycott of the inauguration after Trump publicly criticized civil-rights leader John Lewis. Walsh says his absence is unrelated, though someday he hopes to attend. “It’s going to be an interesting, chaotic day in so many different ways, one side celebrating, and the other half of America not, which is sad,” he said. “We’ve never really seen this type of division in our country, and I’m hoping that this division will go away. I think that the President-elect needs to get down to governing and stop worrying about the press and twittering and all the other stuff.”
In mid-December, Walsh told BPR that he had not yet reached out to offer Trump his congratulations, though he planned to. ““As the mayor of an urban city, I have to do that,” he said. As of Thursday, Walsh said he plans to call, “Probably in the next several weeks.”
“I plan on doing that—I haven’t done it yet,” he said. “I’ve talked to other mayors who have had conversations with him, Mayor [Bill] de Blasio from New York, who had a very public back-and-forth with Donald Trump, he expressed that they had a very cordial meeting, probably better than cordial... a good—I won’t say good—meeting. They had a meeting. The past wasn’t brought up, it was about the future. So I look forward to having a similar conversation with the new president and the administration as we move forward.”
Walsh, who has previously expressed concern about Trump’s cabinet picks, says he’s focusing on small-government-focused appointments. “I’m hopeful that their intergovernmental office, the people that they put in there have an understanding of cities and legislatures,” he said. “President Obama had a gentleman there before who was a former Lieutenant Governor, a former Mayor, and understood how the local government aspect worked. That’s important—everyone is focused on the big cabinet positions, but a guy like Jerry Abramson who understands what it means to run a local government or run a commonwealth or state, that’s the type of appointment that’s really important for relationship building.”
To hear Mayor Walsh’s full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio link above.