The most vocal group condemning the violence at the Capitol just might be CEOs

January 7, 2021, 3:40 AM UTC

If there was any doubt where the business community stands on today’s violent attack on the U.S. Capitol—as well as on President Trump’s months-long attempt to invalidate the results of the presidential election—leaders across a wide swath of American industry answered the question bluntly.

“What we are witnessing in Washington, D.C. today is deeply disturbing for those of us in the U.S. and all over the world,” tweeted Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla as rioting mobs stormed the congressional citadel. “So many people dream of living in a country governed by the rule of law. America must continue to be that place.”

“Now is the time to come together, find ways to understand our differences and solve the problems we face constructively,” said Bourla, who was born and raised in Greece, the cradle of democracy. “Whether we are Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, we all have a role to play in making this democracy work. We look forward to better days.”

“Today marks a sad and shameful chapter in our nation’s history,” tweeted Apple CEO Tim Cook. “Those responsible for this insurrection should be held to account, and we must complete the transition to President-elect Biden’s administration. It’s especially when they are challenged that our ideals matter most.”

Accenture CEO Julie Sweet called upon her fellow citizens to remain steadfast in the face of the attacks on electoral integrity. “Our elected leaders must stand together to support democracy, accept this free and fair election and bring to justice the perpetrators of today’s violent assault on our country,” she tweeted. “As Americans we must stand in support of our democratic values and the leaders who uphold them.”

In a public statement, Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, strongly condemned today’s violence. “This is not who we are as a people or a country,” he wrote. “We are better than this. Our elected leaders have a responsibility to call for an end to the violence, accept the results, and, as our democracy has for hundreds of years, support the peaceful transition of power.”

Arvind Krishna, CEO of computer giant IBM, voiced his outrage over the Capitol attack early, tweeting: “IBM condemns today’s 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.”

Intel CEO Bob Swan voiced a similar note: “@intel we condemn all acts of violence and attempts to unlawfully disrupt a democratic process that has long been a model for the world.”

Many CEOs echoed and retweeted the unminced statement of the Business Roundtable, a leading association of chief executives: “The chaos unfolding in the nation’s capital is the result of unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election. The country deserves better. 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.”

To that, Microsoft president Brad Smith tweeted (and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella retweeted): “Well said. This is a day to speak up for our Constitution and its values.”

The Business Roundtable was just one of several industry groups to issue tough statements. It was joined by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose CEO, Thomas J. Donohue, said “The attacks against our nation’s Capitol Building and our democracy must end now. The Congress of the United States must gather again this evening to conclude their Constitutional responsibility to accept the report of the Electoral College.”

But the most no-holds-barred statement of all was offered by the National Association of Manufacturers, which labeled the rioters “thugs” in its official press release. Said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the powerful lobbying group: “Armed violent protestors who support the baseless claim by outgoing president Trump that he somehow won an election that he overwhelmingly lost have stormed the U.S. Capitol today, attacking police officers and first responders, because Trump refused to accept defeat in a free and fair election. Throughout this whole disgusting episode, Trump has been cheered on by members of his own party, adding fuel to the distrust that has enflamed violent anger. This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous. 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.”

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