The riot has drawn intense criticism from both ends of the political spectrum.
Yesterday evening, a large crowd of supporters for President Donald Trump, present in DC for a large rally, stormed the Capitol building with the intent of occupying the Senate floor. At that time, the Senate was in the process of tallying the electoral college votes to certify former Vice President Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, something which the rioters were intent on stalling or stopping in Trump’s name. After the riot, 4 people were eventually declared dead, numerous others were injured and/or arrested, and both the Senate floor and multiple offices in the building had been damaged and vandalized. This event has drawn intense criticism and condemnation from politicians all over the world, not the least of whom being the United States’ own former Presidents.
In a series of unrelated statements, former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter all condemned the rioters for their actions, as well as the multiple Senators and Congress members who openly voiced their intentions to protest the election results.
“It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight,” Former President Bush said. “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic.”
“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,” he added.
Former President Clinton blamed the riot on misinformation campaigns and “poison politics,” though he added that he is still a firm believer in American decency. “If that’s who we really are, we must reject today’s violence, turn the page, and move forward together—honoring our Constitution, remaining committed to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Clinton said.
Former President Carter called the event a “national tragedy,” and urged everyone to opt for peaceful solutions. “Having observed elections worldwide, I know that we the people can unite to walk back from this precipice to peacefully uphold the laws of our nation, and we must,” his statement said. “We join our fellow citizens in praying for a peaceful resolution so our nation can heal and complete the transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.”
— New York Post (@nypost) January 7, 2021
Former President Obama came down harshest on the event, laying the blame squarely on the rhetoric of President Trump and the policymakers that supported him. “Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments,” Obama said in a statement. “Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.”
“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,” Obama continued. “The election was free, the count was fair, the result is final. We must complete the peaceful transfer of power our Constitution mandates.”
Trump, for his part, referred to the rioters in as “great patriots” and “very special” in several tweets that have since been deleted by Twitter for policy violations. Both Trump’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were temporarily locked, and Twitter is heavily considering banning him altogether should his violations continue.