Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton arrive for the Presidential Inauguration of Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — While Donald Trump took the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts, more than 60 House Democrats were absent from the festivities, the largest inaugural protest by the party’s members in history.

“I’m not boycotting. It’s an act of conscience,” Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly told Politico. “I mean no disrespect. This is about his behavior and his words that have caused so much harm.”

Connolly said he had no real plans for the day, just “a quiet day in Virginia,” where he watched the inauguration on television from his district office. Several other Democrats opted to instead spend the day volunteering, hosted open discussions on immigration and even spent time outdoors with Mother Nature.

The objective of the protest, Democrats said, was to counterpoint Trump’s divisive rhetoric towards women, immigrants, minorities and civil rights leaders — by showing respect toward those communities. More than one-third of the caucus skipped the ceremony, and for several, the decision not to attend became much easier when President Trump attacked Rep. John Lewis, a celebrated civil rights icon, on Twitter over the weekend.

During the tirade on his favorite social media platform, Trump called Lewis “all talk” and “no action” in response to Lewis questioning his legitimacy as president.

Other members cited Russia’s alleged meddling in November’s general election, which intelligence officials said was intended to ensure Trump’s victory, as their reason for staying behind.

Of all the Democrats who chose to attend Friday’s ceremony, the most-watched was Trump’s former rival whom he defeated in the November election, Hillary Clinton. The two crossed paths for the first time since the end of one of the most contentious White House races in the country’s history.

Trump took a moment to thank both of the Clintons for attending during his afternoon luncheon.

“I was very honored — very, very honored when I heard President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton was coming today, and I think it’s appropriate to say,” Trump said during a luncheon at the National Statuary Hall on Friday afternoon. “I’d like you to stand up. And honestly, there’s nothing more I can say because I have a lot of respect for those two people.

“We all want the same thing. We’re all good people.”

The Clintons were met at the luncheon with a standing ovation — a far cry from the boos, chants of “lock her up,” and the “Crooked Hillary” tag the candidate was branded with by her opponent while on the campaign trail. After a brief handshake, Trump could be seen thanking Hillary for her attendance.

“Thank you for being here,” he could be seen whispering to the Democrat.

“I’m here today to honor our democracy & its enduring values,” Clinton tweeted ahead of the inauguration. “I will never stop believing in our country & its future.”