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Business leaders decry ‘disgusting’ storming of Capitol by rioters, urge Trump to end chaos

January 6, 2021, 10:33 PM UTC

While President Trump has frequently earned the praise of corporate America for some of his initiatives on tax cuts and tariffs, the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday by supporters seeking to overturn his recent election defeat has earned the condemnation of the country’s top business leaders.

The Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs from 200 major companies including Walmart, Amazon, Delta Air Lines, Pfizer, and PepsiCo, called on Trump and his allies “to put an end to the chaos and to facilitate the peaceful transition of power,” adding that “the country deserves better.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, “The attacks against our nation’s Capitol building and our democracy must end now.”

On Wednesday afternoon, after Trump held a rally near the White House to reiterate his false claims that he’d won the election, hundreds of his supporters, many carrying American, Trump 2020, or Confederate flags, invaded the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., pushing past security guards.

Congress was in the process of certifying the Electoral College vote confirming Democrat Joe Biden as the next President when the group raided the building and forced the certification to end as they rampaged through.

The National Association of Manufacturers, the largest manufacturing industry group in the U.S., was more outspoken than the Business Roundtable, describing the scenes from the Capitol as “disgusting,” calling the rioters “thugs,” and saying Vice President Mike Pence, an unfailingly loyal lieutenant to Trump, should consider invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. (Biden is set to take power in two weeks.)

Jamie Dimon, CEO of the largest U.S. bank, JPMorgan Chase, and a member of the Business Roundtable, said in a separate statement: “This is not who we are as people or a country.” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in a tweet: “There is no room for violence in our democracy.” Other leading executives who lamented the events in Washington on Wednesday included Microsoft president Brad Smith and the CEO of Citi, Michael Corbat.

The Business Roundtable earlier this week urged Congress to certify the win by President-elect Joe Biden without delay in the largest push by the business community yet to stop Trump and a group of 12 senators from various attempts to claim the election. Biden won the vote in November by 74 electoral votes and more than 7 million votes.

In November, the organization met privately to discuss possible collective action against the President if he refused to leave office. In his rally on Wednesday right before the attempted coup, Trump said he would never concede.