This week should be about celebrating the democratic process instead of protesting President-elect Donald Trump, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley argued Thursday.
In an op-ed for USA Today, Turley detailed why he would not join his family members in protests surrounding the inauguration this week. It's ironic that certain Democratic lawmakers — who just a few months ago lambasted Trump supporters who might not have accepted the outcome of the election if Trump had lost — are skipping the inauguration, he said.
"While I fully support their exercise of free speech and share some of their concerns, I believe that this week is about celebrating the 71st time that a democratically elected president has taken the oath of office (and our 58th formal inauguration)," Turley wrote.
While he was critical of both Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the campaign, Turley said, "there is a time to protest and there is a time to come together, even if only for an inaugural ceremony."
Turley, who represented Republicans and former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its Affordable Care Act individual mandate, also criticized those who claim Trump is not a "legitimate president."
The point is not to belittle the basis or numbers of opponents to Trump. Yet, there is an effort to establish a mythology that Trump was elected by white men and heavily opposed by women. Worse yet, there is an effort to portray him as some presidential pretender to the office. In reality, it is Democratic leaders who have abandoned tradition and denigrated our democracy by refusing to stand with the new president at his inauguration. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., said she would not attend because she did not want to 'contribute to the normalization of the President-elect’s divisive rhetoric by participating in the inauguration.' That 'normalization' is called the democratic process. We are celebrating not a particular victor but the fact that there was a victor — a democratically elected victor followed by a peaceful transition of power.
"In the end, the protests are not about legitimacy," Turley said. "Trump is by any measure our duly elected and legitimate president. It is about a refusal to accept legitimate results. Even the title of 'The Women’s March' is dubious."
While he has described himself as "socially liberal," Turley has also defended the Second Amendment, argued for the legalization of polygamy and criticized the Justice Department under the Obama administration, particularly former Attorney General Eric Holder.
Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson named Turley as one of his top two picks for the Supreme Court in October.