NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President-elect Donald Trump‘s inauguration is just three days away and it’s shaping up to be one of the most controversial in recent memory.
So far, more than 35 House Democrats pledged to boycott Trump’s speech after his attacks on iconic civil rights leader and Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who cast doubt on the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency.READ MORE: NYPD: Delivery Worker Stabbed To Death, E-Bike Stolen Near Sara D. Roosevelt Park
Trump slammed Lewis — and his Atlanta-area district — on Saturday, a day after Lewis described Trump as an illegitimate president.
The quarrel persisted Tuesday, with Trump tweeting, “John Lewis said about my inauguration, “It will be the first one that I’ve missed.’ WRONG (or lie)! He boycotted Bush 43 also because he thought it would be hypocritical to attend Bush’s swearing-in….he doesn’t believe Bush is the true elected president.” Sound familiar! WP.”
Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway defended the president-elect.
“It’s like being the walking-wounded, right. It is always, everybody is always gunning for us, and we are just supposed to look the other way at all times,” Conway told MSNBC.
Congressman Lewis chose not to react to the president-elect’s words while celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
“As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, hate is too heavy a burden to bear,” Lewis said.
Nearly a million people are expected to attend the swearing in, and hundreds of organizations plan to protest.
“All the controversy and all the skepticism that continues form the campaign in a typically American way will vanish in that moment of power transferring from partisan to partisan,” Presidential Inauguration Committee Chairman Tom Barrack said.
Trump will assume power starting with an approval rating more than 20 points lower than any president since 1993, a recent poll found.
Trump shrugged off the polls, tweeting early Tuesday that the polls are rigged.
Meanwhile, as CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said the inauguration is history in the making.READ MORE: Gabby Petito Foundation Holds Fundraiser On Long Island
“Every American, rather, can be proud and cherish the peaceful transition of power that we will celebrate once again this Friday in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
Pence said Trump’s inauguration will mark the dawning of a new era, and Trump’s inaugural address will be about authenticity and brevity.
“It is magnificent,” Conway said. “It is just very elegant, beautiful, strong powerful speech in his own words.”
Meanwhile, Russian president Vladmir Putin on Tuesday accused the outgoing Obama administration of attempting to undermine Trump’s presidency. He said those who spread fake allegations are “worse than prostitutes.”
Putin is referring to a dossier of unverified claims against Trump during a past visit to Moscow.
Trump’s cabinet picks were also ready to get a grilling on Tuesday. Education secretary pick Betsy Devos appeared during the day.
And choice for Health and Human Services Tom Price could face a tough battle after facing allegations that he acted unethically while in Congress concerning stock purchases. Democrats and Republicans are split on whether Price will get Senate approval
“I’m pretty excited about Congressman Price’s nomination,” said U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).
“I think there’s a very good chance that he will not be confirmed,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York).
And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may also eventually get a job in the Trump administration. Trump told the Wall Street Journal “that at some point we’re going to do something with Chris.”
Trump continued: “Don’t forget, we have a lot of positions. Chris is a great guy.”MORE NEWS: Police: Suspect In Killing Of New Rochelle Taxi Driver Taken Into Custody After Shootout In Brooklyn
CBS2 will have complete coverage of the inauguration. Brennan and Kristine Johnson will have live reports from Washington, D.C. starting Thursday.