- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - While Connecticut’s two Democratic U.S. senators said Tuesday they will attend President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration out of respect for the peaceful transition of power, both acknowledged they’re gearing up for a fight with the Republican during the coming months.

The pair said they’re not as hopeful about finding common ground with Trump as they first were after the election. They pointed to some of the president-elect’s cabinet nominees, controversial comments he’s made and stances on issues such as the Affordable Care Act, women’s reproductive health, and alleged Russian cyberhacking.

“I’ll be there and then the next day, be ready to start this fight,” Sen. Chris Murphy said of Friday’s inauguration.

“I’m ready for this fight,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said during a news conference with Murphy at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. “This fight will be the fight of our lives because it is about core values.”

Both said they plan to oppose many of Trump’s cabinet picks, including U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Trump’s choice for attorney general. However, they’re planning to approve some of the nominees, such as retired Marine General James Mattis, Trump’s pick for secretary of defense. And both said they hope to work with Trump on transportation issues in particular, pointing to his proposal for greater infrastructure funding. This comes as Connecticut is embarking on a wide-ranging transportation overhaul.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Trump critic during the campaign and chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said last week he also will attend the inauguration, despite his first inclination to decline the invitation. Malloy and the senators said it’s important to have people who oppose Trump on many issues to attend.

Despite his plans to attend the inauguration, Blumenthal said he still will join his wife and children Saturday at the Women’s March on Washington, where rally-goers are expected to support a variety of issues, including reproductive rights, equal pay, gun control and gay rights.

Murphy said some marchers will stay at his Washington D.C. home. He said he expects to watch his sons while his wife participates in the march.


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