George W. Bush, the only living Republican former president, condemned Wednesday’s “violent assault” on the U.S. Capitol, where a pro-Trump riot forced a recess and resulted in one confirmed fatality as lawmakers were certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement,” Bush wrote in a prepared 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 went on, without specifically naming Trump.
Bush was one of a number of prominent Republicans who condemned the actions of the pro-Trump mob Wednesday.
“Violence has absolutely no place in our democracy,” national security adviser Robert O'Brien said Wednesday.
“Our country is better than what we saw today at our Capitol."
“I am outraged by the lawless protests that unfolded at the United States Capitol today," Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole wrote in a statement. "While Americans have the right to passionately voice their views and peacefully dissent in protest, I strongly condemn the perpetrators of this destructive and violent activity.”
Among Democrats, former President Barack Obama blamed the violence directly on President Donald Trump and on members of his Republican Party who have endorsed his false claims of election victory and his calls for resolute action to keep him in office.
“Republican leaders have a choice made clear in the desecrated chambers of democracy,” Obama said. “They can continue down this road and keep stoking the raging fires. Or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Wednesday’s mob a “shameful assault” on American democracy.
A number of Democrats called for articles of impeachment against Trump on Wednesday evening, accusing him of inciting violence.
While Trump did tell his supporters to “go home” in a video message, he did not condemn their actions and reiterated his unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen from him. The video was later removed by Facebook and YouTube, while Twitter suspended his account, citing misinformation about the election and incitement of violence.
“Let’s be clear about what happened here. The President of the United States sent a mob of domestic terrorists down Pennsylvania Avenue to attack and take over the U.S. Capitol in order to stop the certification of an election that he lost badly,” Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon wrote in a statement.
Blumenauer was one of over a dozen lawmakers calling for articles of impeachment or removing Trump from office Wednesday evening.