Auto executives, groups react to storming of U.S. Capitol

Industry executives and groups representing the nation’s manufacturers and union workers spoke out against the violent actions of a mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday, temporarily halting the certification of president-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly told his supporters that the election was “rigged,” despite the U.S. Justice Department stating that no evidence of widespread voter fraud has been found that would alter the outcome.

UAW President Rory Gamble referred to the incident as a “very sad day for our nation and our democracy” and condemned the violence at the Capitol that left at least one civilian dead.

“We cannot take our system of government for granted, and we must be vigilant to ensure that our democracy maintains its historical position as the gold standard for freedom and liberty,” Gamble said in a statement. “Today’s actions must not be allowed to alter that.”

General Motors CEO Mary Barra urged the nation to “come together as a country and reinforce the values and ideals that unite us.”

“The peaceful transition of power is a cornerstone of American democracy, and regardless of politics the violence at the U.S. Capitol does not reflect who we are as a nation,” she wrote in a tweet.

Ford CEO Jim Farley and Executive Chairman Bill Ford in a message to employees said they watched the images coming from the Capitol “in complete disbelief.”

“Beyond the physical damage to our Capitol and the attacks on public servants, these were destructive acts against our shared principles and beliefs,” they said. “There are no easy lessons to learn from this moment. It is clear that there will be more difficult days ahead as our country tries to overcome the things that challenge and divide us: a public health crisis, the lack of faith in public institutions and a fractured sense of what we value as Americans.”

Farley in a tweet Wednesday evening said the automaker “condemns the violent and antidemocratic actions today.”

The National Association of Manufacturers — one of the first trade groups to speak out against the invasion — urged Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office.

The group’s members include the Alliance for Automotive Innovation and the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, among others representing a broad spectrum of industrial sectors in the U.S.

“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,” NAM CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement. “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.”

U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider of Michigan, the federal prosecutor who has presided over the UAW corruption cases in Detroit, issued this statement:

“The violent protesters at the U.S. Capitol right now are committing crimes, and they must stop immediately. Our Constitution protects peaceful protests-not this. Just as the violence in our cities this summer was prosecuted, this violence should be treated the same under the law.”

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