The Democrats’ Blue Wave win Wednesday was overshadowed by scenes of mob mayhem in the nation’s capital as throngs of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol and interrupted Congress’ counting votes to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
In a strongly worded statement, National Association of Manufacturers president and CEO Jay Timmons denounced the unfolding “chaos” as “mob rule” that meets the definition of “sedition and should be treated as such.”
“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,” added Timmons, whose association’s membership includes textile manufacturers like W. L. Gore & Associates. What’s more, he said, Trump has repeatedly “incited violence in an attempt to retain power.”
As rioters smashed windows to break into the Capitol, forcing congressional leaders into hiding and leading to the reported discovery of two pipe bomb-like devices on the building’s grounds, Timmons urged Vice President Mike Pence to “seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy.”
The day started with Democratic challengers in Georgia’s Senate runoff races flipping the traditionally red state blue. Jon Ossoff was projected as the winner of the second Senate-seat runoff in Georgia, giving Democrats a Blue Wave win after Raphael Warnock defeated incumbent conservative Kelly Loeffler.
President Donald Trump has long refused to acknowledge that he lost the presidential election to President-elect Joe Biden, even after mounting failed, evidence-less legal challenges and pressuring Pence to overthrow the election results.
Pence, for his part, released a statement moments before the joint session of Congress: “It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”
And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will become the Senate Minority Leader given the Democratic wins in Georgia, opened the Senate floor Wednesday stating: “Nothing before us proves illegality of the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election. Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break when the doubt was incited without any evidence.” He noted that the election was not “unusually close, explaining that the Electoral College margin was almost identical to what it was in 2016.
“If this election were overturned by the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral,” McConnell said.
Media reports indicate that congressional members, in broadcast interviews, intend to carry on with their job as soon as they can, and proceed with the certification of Electoral College votes, even if it means they need to do so from their secured, undisclosed locations.
The American Apparel and Footwear Association issued a statement against the “violent assault on our democracy and democratic values.”
“AAFA fully supports the U.S. Constitution and our democratic institutions,” it said. “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.”
The fashion and footwear trade group called for the a “peaceful transition of power.”
“We have a great deal of work ahead of us to heal our nation and our economy, and our democratic institutions must be fully defended so they can be fully deployed to support that work,” it added.
Matthew Shay, president and the National Retail Federation, described the unfolding violence as 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,” he added. “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.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called for a curfew beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday until 6 a.m. Thursday. National Guard troops from the D.C. area were deployed to maintain order. Members of the Virginia National Guard were also requested for assistance. And members of the New Jersey police department are also reportedly on their way to the nation’s capital. At 5 p.m., D.C. police forces were finally able to begin clearing some of the mob rioters from the Capitol steps.
Speaking live on national television from his home state of Delaware, President-elect Biden said he was planning to speak on how to revive the economy, but instead called for a restoration of “simple decency.”
“At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times, ” Biden said, calling the mob protesting an “insurrection.”
“The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are,” he said. “I call on this mob to pull back and allow democracy to go forward.” Biden said the words of a president at their best can inspire and at their worst can incite. He also called on Trump to “step up,” and go on national television to “demand an end to this siege.”
For his part, Trump sent a video clip to Twitter in which he told supporters to “go home now” and to respect the people in law and order, but not without adding gasoline to the burning embers by continuing to a debunked narrative of a “fraudulent election” that “was stolen from” his supporters. And he still didn’t acknowledge that on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, Biden will take the oath of office to become the 46th U.S. president
With a Blue Wave win, most on Wall Street are expecting the government will release additional assistance to aid businesses and people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.