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Associations condemn storming of U.S. Capitol

Business groups call for peaceful transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden


Jan. 6, 2021
By Walt Williams

Several associations and their top executives were quick to condemn the storming of the U.S. Capitol building by supporters of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, with one CEO calling for Trump’s possible removal through the 25th Amendment.

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National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons condemned not just the protestors but Trump and members of the Republican Party who supported his calls to overturn the presidential election. Trump falsely cited massive voter fraud as the reason for his loss.

“This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous,” Timmons said. “This is sedition and should be treated as such. The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy.

“Anyone indulging conspiracy theories to raise campaign dollars is complicit. Vice President Pence, who was evacuated from the Capitol, should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy,” he added.

The 25th Amendment allows members of the Cabinet to remove a sitting president who is unable to do his or her job. Pence would become acting president until Biden is sworn in later this month.

Other groups were more measured in their responses, calling on leaders from both parties to condemn the protestors’ actions.

“Storming the Capitol and disrupting the procedure of certification is not a peaceful protest.  It is criminal conduct,” Patricia Lee Refo, the elected president of the American Bar Association, said in a statement. “President Donald Trump and all leaders must condemn this violence immediately, demand that it stop, and protect the safety and lives of those inside the Capitol. President Trump has a duty to restore and protect the rule of law.”

“What we are seeing today in Washington, D.C., is a horrible and dangerous affront to democracy in our nation,” American Gas Association CEO Karen Harbert said. “Distinct opinions and valid debates should always have the room to be voiced and heard, but today we have seen an escalation beyond differing views and opinions to violence and discord in the U.S. Capitol.”

“The attacks against our nation’s Capitol Building and our democracy must end now,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue said. “The Congress of the United States must gather again this evening to conclude their Constitutional responsibility to accept the report of the Electoral College.”

In a tweet, American Petroleum Institute CEO Mike Sommers noted he spent a decade working on Capitol Hill. He was the chief of staff for former Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

 “The violence there today is unspeakable, undercuts the peaceful transition of power, and has no place in America. All of us at @APIenergy stand with Members of Congress, staff, and the brave members of the U.S. Capitol Police,” Sommers said.

Jeff Joseph, CEO of the Software and Industry Information Association, tweeted that “this violent attack on our Capitol is not free speech, it is seditious, anti-Democratic anarchy.

“We call on our nation’s leaders at the highest levels to restore peace and allow the peaceful transition of power to occur,” he said.

Multiple associations had previously urged GOP lawmakers to drop efforts to challenge the results of the election. Business Roundtable noted the protestors were inspired by “unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election.”

“Business Roundtable calls on the president and all relevant officials to put an end to the chaos and to facilitate the peaceful transition of power,” BRT said.