CEOs and business leaders condemn ‘appalling events’ at Capitol, push for unity

Executives and CEOs from some of America’s biggest companies strongly condemned the violence in Washington on Wednesday after a lawless mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called “a shameful assault” on democracy.

“The scenes from Washington, D.C., today are shocking and scary for all of us,” Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, wrote in a note to employees. “Holding free and safe elections and resolving our differences peacefully are foundational to the functioning of democracy. The lawlessness and violence occurring on Capitol Hill today is the antithesis of democracy and we strongly condemn it.”

Wall Street was among the first to speak out against the “insurrection,” with Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, one of President Donald Trump’s most prominent allies, calling the chaos “an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as Americans.”

“The insurrection that followed the president’s remarks today is appalling,” he said in a statement. “I am shocked and horrified by this mob’s attempt to undermine our constitution. As I said in November, the outcome of the election is very clear and there must be a peaceful transition of power.”

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said in a statement: “This is not who we are as a people or a country. 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. Now is the time to come together to strengthen our exceptional union.”

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said: “The peaceful transfer of power is the foundation of our democracy. We are who we are as a nation because of our democratic institutions and process.”

Thomas J. Donohue, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, decried the “attacks against our nation’s Capitol Building and our democracy,” while the Business Roundtable, which represents CEOs of companies like Amazon, Walmart and Home Depot, said “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,” it said.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra tweeted, “The peaceful transition of power is a cornerstone of American democracy, and regardless of politics the violence at the U.S. Capitol does not reflect who we are as a nation. It’s imperative that we come together as a country and reinforce the values and ideals that unite us.”

Target said it had closed stores in the Washington, D.C., area and asked staff members to return home, saying its “top priority is the safety of our team members and guests.”

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely,” Target said in a statement.