In the hours after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the symbolic tally of Joe Biden’s Presidential election victory, logistics industry leaders condemned the violent action in fiery terms, calling the actions illegal and saying they hindered the U.S. recovery from pandemic and recession.
The crowd had gathered on Wednesday morning to support President Trump’s efforts to subvert the proven election results through unfounded claims of voter fraud. They later marched to Capitol Hill and stormed the building as Congress debated the electoral vote count. The mob smashed windows, broke furniture, and rummaged through House and Senate offices before being dispersed by police. One woman was killed in the turmoil.
Following the chaos, several trade groups in the manufacturing and retail sectors denounced the violence. In an extraordinary statement, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), known as a supporter of centrist, pro-business views, called the rioters “armed thugs” and called on Vice President Mike Pence to take over as President, replacing Trump in the White House by invoking the Constitution’s 25th Amendment.
“Armed violent protestors who support the baseless claim by outgoing president Trump that he somehow won an election that he overwhelmingly lost have stormed the U.S. Capitol today, attacking police officers and first responders, because Trump refused to accept defeat in a free and fair election,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a release.
“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 outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy,” Timmons said.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) echoed those comments, calling on all members of Congress to respect the Constitution and follow the rule of law. "The events at the U.S. Capitol today were nothing less than an attack on our democracy. At a time when our elected officials were meant to perform a routine yet powerfully symbolic function of the peaceful transfer of power, they were met with a violent mob, incited by the President of the United States and his agents,” RILA President Brian Dodge said in a statement.
"It is clear our nation has a long road ahead to repair the division that manifested itself today in our nation’s Capital, but it starts with acknowledging that free and fair elections must be respected, regardless of the outcome. It’s time for men and women of goodwill in government to denounce the conspiracy theories and cancerous rhetoric employed by those cravenly attempting to capitalize on political chaos,” Dodge said.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) also called the events “a sad and distressing day for our country.” “Our retailers, the millions of associates they employ, and the communities they serve across the country want and need our elected officials to focus on the priorities that ensure faith in our government through stability. Today’s riots are repugnant and fly in the face of the most basic tenets of our constitution, and the Administration must move quickly to provide the leadership that will end this affront to our democracy,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a release.
Likewise, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) called the actions a “violent assault on our democracy and democratic values.” “Today’s scenes may have begun as peaceful protest, but quickly escalated into a direct attack on our nation’s core beliefs and way of life when an armed mob stormed the Capitol. This was unacceptable; it was crime against the United States and its people. It is long past time for us to unite and support the peaceful transition of power,” the AAFA said.
Editor's note: This article was revised on January 6 to include comments from the National Retail Federation.
Manufacturers stand with members of Congress who intend to uphold their constitutional responsibility and vote to certify the Electoral College tallies that resulted from free, fair and legal elections in the states. #CreatorsRespondhttps://t.co/O1d3OnFbMC— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) January 4, 2021
Today's events were nothing less than an attack on our democracy. It’s time for men & women of goodwill in government to denounce the conspiracy theories & cancerous rhetoric employed by those cravenly attempting to capitalize on political chaos. https://t.co/d0LXHycjOx pic.twitter.com/K1oaWgjdDm— RILA (@RILAtweets) January 6, 2021