Business Leaders Condemn Mob Assault On U.S. Capitol; ‘This Is Sedition’

Jay Timmons, who leads the largest organization representing American manufacturing, said Vice President Mike Pence should consider invoking the 25th amendment in the wake of Wednesday's violence. 'This is sedition and should be treated as such.'

In a video released as his supporters mobbed the U.S. Capitol, President Trump reiterated false charges that the election was fraudulent, even as he called on the attack to stop.

Against a backdrop of unprecedented assault on the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday, some of the nation’s top business leaders spoke called for an end to the violence—and a peaceful transition to a new administration.

But at least one—Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers—went much farther, calling on the Vice President of the United States to “seriously consider” removing President Donald Trump from office after he “incited violence in an attempt to retain power.”

It was an unprecedented statement by one of the most high-profile corporate leaders in America. Timmons, who leads the NAM, the largest organization representing American manufacturing, said Vice President Mike Pence should consider invoking the 25th amendment to the U.S. Constitution after armed protestors overran the U.S. Capitol building following a rally where President Trump spoke to followers who had gathered to protest the election results.

“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 in the statement. “Anyone indulging conspiracy theories to raise campaign dollars is complicit. Vice President Pence, who was evacuated from the Capitol, should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy.”

Other chief executives spoke out against the violence in Washington as well.

“The attacks against our nation’s Capitol building and our democracy must end now,” said Thomas J. Donohue, the chamber’s chief executive, in a statement. “The Congress of the United States must gather again this evening to conclude their constitutional responsibility to accept the report of the Electoral College.”

“I strongly condemn the violence in our nation’s capital,” JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said in an emailed statement, Bloomberg reported. “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.”

“The chaos unfolding in the nation’s capital is the result of unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election,” The Business Roundtable, representing the leadership of America’s largest companies, said in a statement. “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.”

Earlier in the week, more than 200 CEOs issued a similar statement, calling for the President and his allies to halt their work to overturn the election and assist with the peaceful transfer of power in Washington.

And yesterday, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, CEO of the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute, convened an off-the-record meeting of more than three dozen high-profile corporate leaders who uniformly renounced the move by GOP House members and Senators to contest the election.

But while many other CEOs have spoken out about the scene in Washington, few—if any—have been as strident, and blunt, as Timmons.

“Throughout this whole disgusting episode, Trump has been cheered on by members of his own party, adding fuel to the distrust that has enflamed violent anger,” Timmons said in a statement. “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.”

Dan Bigman
Dan Bigman is Editor and Chief Content Officer of Chief Executive Group, publishers of Chief Executive, Corporate Board Member, ChiefExecutive.net, Boardmember.com and StrategicCFO360. Previously he was Managing Editor at Forbes and the founding business editor of NYTimes.com.