The pro-Trump rally was timed to coincide with Congress’ joint session to certify the Electoral College votes.
Trump encouraged the attendees to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” to encourage lawmakers to vote against certification. The mob turned violent, breaching a police barricade and storming the Capitol, resulting in one death and multiple injuries.
Former President Barack Obama blamed Trump for bringing “great dishonor and shame” to the nation by continuing to lie about the election results.
“But we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise,” Obama said.
“For two months now, a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth — that this was not a particularly close election and that President-Elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20. Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.”
Obama applauded Republicans who also spoke out against Trump on Wednesday.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said Trump incited the violence because of his “injured pride” over losing the election.
“Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy,” Romney said.
“It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight,” he said. “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions and our law enforcement.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., took her rebuke one step further, saying she was drawing up articles of impeachment against Trump.
“We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our republic and we need to fulfill our oath,” she said.
The House voted to impeach Trump once already in late 2019.
Foreign leaders also weighed in on the violence, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling the insurrection “disgraceful.”
“The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power,” he tweeted.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted: “Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and it will be.”
NATO head Jens Stoltenberg called the scenes in Washington, D.C., “shocking” and said, “The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.”
U.S. business leaders called on elected leaders to “facilitate the peaceful transition of power.”
“The chaos unfolding in the nation’s capital is the result of unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate the results of a democratic election,” a statement from the Business Roundtable said. “The country deserves better.”
The National Association of Manufacturers, a lobbying group, called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which includes a measure allowing the second-in-command to assume the powers of the presidency if a majority of the Cabinet agrees.