By Emily Glazer, Chip Cutter and Lauren Weber
Business leaders and trade groups called Wednesday for an end to
the violence in Washington, D.C. and a peaceful transfer of power
after supporters of President Trump stormed the Capitol where
legislators were meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden's
Electoral College win.
The reactions came in a week of statements and meetings
involving corporate executives who have publicly urged a smooth
transfer of power while Mr. Trump and others have disputed his
Chief executives, including the leaders of Alphabet Inc.'s
Google and Bank of America Corp., condemned the violence.
"The insurrection that followed the president's remarks today is
appalling and an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as
Americans," said Blackstone Group Inc. Chief Executive Stephen
Schwarzman. Mr. Schwarzman, one of Mr. Trump's most loyal allies on
Wall Street and a major Republican fundraiser who acknowledged in
November that Mr. Trump lost the election, added, "There must be a
peaceful transition of power."
James Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase
& Co., the country's largest bank, said the violence doesn't
represent the U.S. "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," Mr. Dimon said in a statement.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said today marked a "sad and shameful
chapter" and called for those responsible to be held to account.
"It's especially when they are challenged that our ideals matter
most," he tweeted.
Larry Fink, head of asset-management giant BlackRock Inc.,
called the violence "an assault on our nation, our democracy, and
the will of the American people." Brad Karp, chairman of law firm
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, said Mr. Trump
was aided by a "complicit group of senators and congressmen" to
Others in the business community called for further steps. Jay
Timmons, president and chief executive of the National Association
of Manufacturers, said Mr. Pence should consider invoking the 25th
amendment, which allows for a transfer of power when a president is
unable to fulfill his duties.
"This is not the vision of America that manufacturers believe in
and work so hard to defend," Mr. Timmons said in a statement.
"Across America today, millions of manufacturing workers are
helping our nation fight the deadly pandemic that has already taken
hundreds of thousands of lives. We are trying to rebuild an economy
and save and rebuild lives. But none of that will matter if our
leaders refuse to fend off this attack on America and our
Sean McGarvey, president of North America's Building Trades
Unions, which represents more than three million workers in
construction, called on President Trump and Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh
Hawley, along with the other lawmakers who had said they would
object to certifying some states' Electoral College votes, to
immediately step down.
"We call on a bipartisan commission to investigate and identify
all planners, funders and coordinators of this attempted coup and
refer them to prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department," he said
in a statement. "If these actions are not taken immediately, in
anticipation of what is already one of the worst domestic episodes
in our country's history, things could get much worse over the next
14 days very quickly."
The National Farmers Union, which represents family farmers,
fishers and ranchers, said, "This event demonstrates just how
fragile democracy truly is. It doesn't exist simply because it is
written in the Constitution; it requires action of the part of
every American. Every day, we must commit anew to upholding its
core tenets of social equality, personal liberty, sovereignty, and
a peaceful transfer of power."
Thomas J. Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which
represents more than three million businesses across the country,
called for an end to the violence and for Congress to regroup in
the evening to certify the Electoral College results. Congressional
leaders said Wednesday evening they were preparing to do so.
The Business Roundtable, a bipartisan group that counts among
its members the CEOs of dozens of major U.S. companies, urged Mr.
Trump and other officials to "put an end to the chaos and to
facilitate the peaceful transition of power." Executives, including
Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith, tweeted the statement and
reiterated their support for a peaceful transition. "This is a day
to speak up for our Constitution and its values," Mr. Smith
As the chaos unfolded, some CEOs addressed their employees
directly. In a letter to employees, Alfred F. Kelly Jr., the
chairman and CEO of Visa Inc., called Wednesday's events "one of
the lowest points in our 245-year history as a nation."
Tim Ryan, the U.S. chairman of consulting and accounting giant
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, had expected to talk to employees about
normal business matters during a webcast scheduled for Wednesday.
Instead, after seeing the Capitol breached by rioters shortly
before the call, he told them, "It is safe to say that this is a
surreal day that will go down in our country's history and it is
devastating to watch these events unfold right before our
The chaos interrupted workdays as many employees stopped what
they were doing to follow the coverage. At Progressive Stamping
& Fabrication LLC, a 28-person manufacturer in Oklahoma City,
people -- including some who were disappointed with the election
outcome -- monitored developments online and on an office
television, said Dave Younge, an owner of the company.
Mr. Younge, a Republican, said he was busy with work and unaware
of what was unfolding when he started receiving news alerts. "I
thought holy cow, this is going on?" he said. "This is very
--Alison Sider, Khadeeja Safdar and Miriam Gottfried contributed
to this article.
Write to Emily Glazer at email@example.com, Chip Cutter at
firstname.lastname@example.org and Lauren Weber at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 06, 2021 22:22 ET (03:22 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.