Leaders, business groups condemn US Capitol chaos

2021-01-07 12:04:26

Police officers stand guard as supporters of US President Donald Trump gather in front of the US Capitol Building in Washington, US, Jan 6, 2021. [Photo/Agencies] The violent storming of the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump Wednesday afternoon has shocked the world and drew condemnation from former US presidents and leading US corporate groups, who called for an immediate end to the disruption to presidential transition. Police in the US Capitol responded by drawing guns and firing tear gas as hundreds of protesters, waving Trump's blue flags and wearing his red campaign hats, broke into the Capitol, halting a Congress session tasked with certifying President-elect Joe Biden's win. "Shocking scenes in Washington, DC. The outcome of this democratic election must be respected," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted as the chaos unfolded at the US Capitol.  Despite Trump's repeated claims of voter fraud affecting the Nov 3 election, numerous federal courts, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome. Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne twitted, "Canada is deeply shocked by the situation in Washington DC. The peaceful transition of power is fundamental to democracy - it must continue and it will." "This is insurrection. Nothing less. In Washington," tweeted Carl Bildt, a former prime minister of Sweden. In a statement, former president Bill Clinton said the chaos at the Capitol resulted from a combination of deliberate disinformation that created distrust in the system and pitted Americans against one another. "The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost," he noted. Former president George W. Bush said he and his wife, Laura watched "the scenes of mayhem" in disbelief and dismay. "It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight. This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic," Bush said in a statement. "The violent assault on the Capitol – and disruption of a Constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress – was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes," he added. Pro-Trump protesters storm into the US Capitol during clashes with police, during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 US presidential election results by the US Congress, in Washington, US Jan 6, 2021. [Photo/Agencies] Major US corporations and businesses groups have blasted the protesters' occupation of the US Capitol. The Business Roundtable, a lobbying group representing more than 200 chief executives, said the chaos was the result of 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," it said in a statement. Thomas Donohue, CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, said the attacks against the Capitol Building must end now, and Congress should resume work despite the violent disruption. "The Congress of the United States must gather again this evening to conclude their Constitutional responsibility to accept the report of the Electoral College," Donohue said in a statement. Donohue's call was echoed by Cal Jillson, a political scientist and historian at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "It is a sad and remarkable day in the American capital," Jillson said. "I just hope that adult supervision will arrive soon in the persons of congressional leadership from both parties. They should stand together in confirming the Biden victory overnight." On Wednesday evening, more than six hours after the pro-Trump protesters overran Congress, the Senate resumed debating the Republican challenge against Biden's presidential election victory. "The singular cause of the events in the capital today is Donald J. Trump and his inability to accept his defeat in the recent election," Jillson said. "Fortunately, he does not have to accept it because those outside his rapidly narrowing base do," he said. William Banks, distinguished professor emeritus at Syracuse University College of Law in New York, said the fiasco was a "lawless threat" to the country's democratic institutions. "I hope and believe that this pointless and damaging spectacle will further diminish Trump and Trumpism going forward," he told China Daily. "The Republican party can and should be remade in a different image. There should be no impact on the inauguration and swearing in of President-elect Biden," he added.