Companies, business groups decry ‘lawless’ mob violence at Capitol

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

The mob scenes at the Capitol attracted harsh and unusual criticism from business groups, including the chief executive of one of the nation’s largest banks saying he was “disgusted” and a manufacturing trade group calling it “sedition” and suggesting President Donald Trump needed to be immediately removed from office.

It was a surprising series of rebukes for a president who had enjoyed widespread support from corporate America for most of his turbulent term, especially for his efforts to cut government regulations and reduce corporate tax rates.

The National Association of Manufacturers released an extraordinary statement from its president, Jay Timmons, saying Vice President Mike Pence “should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment to preserve democracy.”

The amendment allows for the president to be replaced if the leader is unable to do his job, for a variety of reasons, either temporarily or permanently. While the amendment previously had been floated by anti-Trump political groups as an extreme solution to his presidency, it is remarkable that it was now being suggested by the mainstream trade organization representing 14,000 companies nationwide.

“This is not law and order,” Timmons said in his statement on what occurred at the Capitol building Wednesday. “This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous. This is sedition and should be treated as such.”

Timmons also said anyone “indulging conspiracy theories to raise campaign dollars is complicit.”

Michael Corbat, chief executive of Citibank, said he was disgusted by the scenes. “I pray this situation can be resolved without further bloodshed,” his statement read.

J.P. Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in a statement he “strongly” condemned the violence. “This is not who we are as a people or a country,” he said. “We are better than this.”

Arvind Krishna, chief executive of IBM, said he too condemned the “unprecedented lawlessness and we call for it to end immediately. These actions have no place in our society, and they must stop so our system of democracy can work.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief executive Thomas Donohue said, “The attacks against our nation’s Capitol Building and our democracy must end now.”

Donohue said Congress must return to “to conclude their Constitutional responsibility to accept the report of the Electoral College.”

Goldman Sachs chief executive David Solomon said in a statement the attack on the Capitol was damaging to America.

“It’s time for all Americans to come together and move forward with a peaceful transition of power,” he said in a statement. “We have to begin reinvesting in our democracy and rebuilding the institutions that have made America an exceptional nation.”

The chief executive of Johnson & Johnson, Alex Gorsky, said in a statement he was “devastated by this assault on what our country has stood for since its founding: free, fair and peaceful elections.” Gorsky said it was time to stand for unity, “not face-to-face in conflict – and to chart our path to a better and healthier future.”

Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute, who worked two decades for former Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he found the television footage “absolutely sickening” and “heartbreaking.” Asked about Trump’s role, Sommers said: “I blame him completely. He has proven himself unworthy of the office of being president.”

Referring to the demonstrators who stormed the House and Senate, Sommers said:”This country has relied on the peaceful transfer of power since our founding, What happened today was an absolute outrage and the parties responsible should be held accountable.”

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