U.S. business leaders denounced Donald Trump for inciting supporters who mobbed the U.S. Capitol, with the head of the National Association of Manufacturers saying Vice President Mike Pence should “seriously consider” working with the Cabinet to remove the president from office.
Jay Timmons, head of the lobbying group that backed many of Trump’s initiatives, raised the prospect of invoking the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to cut short Trump’s remaining days in office. President-elect Joe Biden is to be sworn into office on Jan. 20.
“Throughout this whole disgusting episode, Trump has been cheered on by members of his own party, adding fuel to the distrust that has inflamed violent anger,” Timmons said in a statement on Wednesday. “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 25th Amendment outlines a process in which a president “who is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” can be removed and replaced by the vice president.
Other business groups and leaders condemned the rioting, as law enforcement regained control of the Capitol on Wednesday evening.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon called for the violence at the Capitol to end. Although he didn’t single out Trump by name, he said, “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.”
Similarly, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock Inc., condemned “in the strongest possible terms the violence at our Capitol today.”
“The peaceful transfer of power is the foundation of our democracy,” Fink said in a statement. “We are who we are as a nation because of our democratic institutions and process.”
Wells Fargo & Co. CEO Charles Scharf urged “an immediate end to this violence. We must embark on the peaceful transition of power to President-elect Biden, a hallmark of our republic,” he said in a statement.
Other business leaders who decried the spasms of violence in Washington included two Michigan-based CEOs: General Motors Co.’s Mary Barra and Jim Fitterling of Dow Inc.
Barra, who normally shies away from commenting on political matters, said in a tweet that “violence at the U.S. Capitol does not reflect who we are as a nation.” Fitterling, who has taken a public stance on social issues such as LGBTQ rights, tweeted “those leaders upholding their oath and our nation’s ideals — we stand with you.”
The Business Roundtable, a lobbying group for top chief executives, called on Trump and “all relevant officials to put an end to the chaos and to facilitate the peaceful transition of power.”
“The chaos unfolding in the nation’s capital is the result of unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election,” the group said. “The country deserves better.”
Tom Donohue, CEO of the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Congress should “gather again this evening to conclude their Constitutional responsibility to accept the report of the Electoral College.”
Hours after Trump’s supporters broke into the Capitol, the president posted a short video on Twitter praising their embrace of his false claims of election fraud but asking them to “go home.” Pence, who had been presiding over the certification, tweeted that “The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now.”
Twitter later said it would lock Trump’s account for 12 hours.
– By Ben Brody (Bloomberg)
– With assistance from Annie Massa, Daniel Taub and Chester Dawson (Bloomberg)