Chief executives at Apple, JPMorgan Chase, Salesforce and other large companies issued statements saying they were disgusted with the way armed protestors forced their way into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Influential business lobbyists are also condemning the actions, with one of the trade groups — the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, D.C. — calling for President Donald Trump's removal from the Oval Office.
Four people have died since a group of President Trump's supporters breached the Capitol as lawmakers were trying to tally Electoral College votes and certify the results of the November election won by Joe Biden. The violence occurred soon after Mr. Trump rallied his supporters with a speech vowing not to concede the election results and urging them to march on the Capitol.
Jay Timmons, CEO of the manufacturers group, suggested in a statement that White House officials invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution.
The 25th Amendment allows the vice president and most of the president's cabinet to declare the president "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." If that happens, the president is removed and the vice president becomes acting president.
"Vice President Pence, who was evacuated from the Capitol, should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy," Timmons said in a statement. "This is not the vision of America that manufacturers believe in and work so hard to defend."
Some cabinet members and senior administration officials have been "whispering" about the 25th Amendment, according to CBS News senior foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan. No one has formally approached Pence with 25th Amendment proceedings, Brennan told CBS Evening News.
If no action is taken, Mr. Trump's presidency ends January 20.
Timmons called Wednesday's violence and Trump's comments a "disgusting episode" and an "attack on America and our democracy." Other business leaders struck a similar tone, although not all of them directly tied the president's words and actions to the protestors' violence.
"We are better than this," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement. Dimon runs the country's largest bank. "I strongly condemn the violence taking place in our nation's capital. This is not who we are as a people our country."
Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted that Wednesday was "a sad and shameful chapter in our nation's history."
"Those responsible for this insurrection should be held to account and we must complete the transition to President-elect Biden's administration," Cook said.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff also took to Twitter, saying "there is no room for violence in our democracy."
Thoughts from other CEOs and business leaders include:
- Dan Schulman of PayPal called the violence "both shocking and disturbing" on LinkedIn.
- Thomas Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the violence an attack on democracy in a statement.
- Arvind Krishna of IBM condemned the protestors' actions in a tweet and said they "must stop so our system of democracy can work."
- Michael Corbat of Citigroup said he was "disgusted" by the protestors' action and prays there can be a transition of presidents "without further bloodshed."
- Alfred Kelly Jr. of Visa said he was shocked and saddened by Wednesday's events and that Visa stands "100% behind the results of the election and the collective voices of the citizens of this country."
- Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson said in a statement he was "devasted [sic] by this assault on what our country has stood for since its founding."
- Mike Sommers of the American Petroleum Institute tweeted that the violence "undercuts the peaceful transition of power and has no place in America."
- The American Sustainable Business Council also called for 25th Amendment action, adding that "Congress should immediately move to impeach and convict Trump to hold him accountable and assure he will never hold another office of public trust again."
- Doug Parker of American Airlines called Wednesday "a profoundly sad day for our country" and declared "no matter how you voted or where you stand today on the election results, we must now move forward together."