Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft President Brad Smith, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, and other business leaders condemn the insurrection at the US Capitol: 'sad and shameful'

Avery Hartmans,Tyler Sonnemaker,Kate Duffy,Tim Levin
US Capitol protest
Supporters of President Trump marching on the US Capitol Building. Samuel Corum/Getty
  • Business leaders are speaking out against Wednesday's attack on the US Capitol.

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook said "those responsible for this insurrection should be held to account."

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the attacks marked "a dark moment in our nation's history," The New York Times's Mike Isaac reported.

  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai called the attacks "the antithesis of democracy" in an email to staff.

  • Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, issued a scathing rebuke of President Donald Trump and the rioters, and called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment in order to remove Trump from office.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Business leaders have been speaking out against the violence at the US Capitol on Wednesday.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Twitter that the insurrection by pro-Trump supporters was "sad and shameful."

"Today marks 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. It's especially when they are challenged that our ideals matter most," Cook said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an email to staff that he was "personally saddened" by the attacks, according to The New York Times reporter Mike Isaac.

"This is a dark moment in our nation's history, and I know many of you are frightened and concerned about what's happening in Washington, D.C. I'm personally saddened by this mob violence -- which is exactly what this is," Zuckerberg said according to Isaac, adding: "The peaceful transition of power is critical to the functioning of democracy, and we need our political leaders to lead by example and put the nation first."

Read more: We analyzed 23 memos from CEOs responding to the US Capitol riot. The most effective messages get personal.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to Google staff describing the day's events as "shocking and scary," and reassured employees that the company was monitoring the safety of its DC-area employees. Pichai also denounced the attacks on the Capitol. 

"The lawlessness and violence occurring on Capitol Hill today is the antithesis of democracy and we strongly condemn it," he wrote in the email, which was posted on Twitter by Axios' Ina Fried.

Blackstone chairman, CEO, and co-founder Stephen Schwarzman - a longtime Trump ally who previously defended the president's election lawsuits during a call with top American CEOs - said he was "shocked and horrified."

"The insurrection that followed the President's remarks today is appalling and an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as Americans. I am shocked and horrified by this mob's attempt to undermine our constitution.  As I said in November, the outcome of the election is very clear and there must be a peaceful transition of power," Schwarzman said in a statement to Business Insider.

Marc Benioff, Salesforce's CEO, tweeted that "there is no room for violence in our democracy."

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman called the violence "shocking and disturbing" in a LinkedIn post.

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian described the rioters as "domestic terrorists" in a retweet of the NAACP. 

Ohanian, who has been outspoken about the Black Lives Matter movement and is a proponent for more racial diversity in the tech industry, was one of the first business leaders to speak out about rioters in Washington, who breached the Capitol building amid a joint session of Congress to count the 2020 presidential race's Electoral College votes,

Chris Sacca, an early Uber, Twitter, and Instagram investor and former judge on "Shark Tank," wrote that he "can't help but cry right now" and tweeted to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that they have "rationalized this terror" on their platforms, writing: "You've got blood on your hands." 

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement that he strongly condemns Wednesday's violence.

"This is not who we are as a people or a country. We are better than this," Dimon said. "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. Now is the time to come together to strengthen our exceptional union."

Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, issued a scathing rebuke of President Donald Trump and the rioters, describing them as "armed thugs" and calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment in order to remove Trump from office.

"This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous. This is sedition and it should be treated as such," Timmons said. 

Visa CEO Alfred Kelly Jr. said in a LinkedIn post that the attacks marked "one of the lowest points in our 245-year history as a nation."

Citi CEO Michael Corbat said in a statement that he is "disgusted" by those who stormed the Capitol. 

American Express Chairman and CEO Stephen J. Squeri characterized the events as an "egregious assault on our democracy" in a Wednesday statement.

Arvind Krishna, IBM's CEO, called for an end to the "unprecedented lawlessness."

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted and then quickly deleted a post praising a Silicon Valley mentorship program, writing: "Amidst all this craziness some awesome stuff is happening."

Khosrowshahi posted the tweet at 3:45 p.m., as the rioters were still not contained in Washington. The tweet was removed moments later. 

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla called the riots "deeply disturbing for those of us in the US and all over the world."

"So many people dream of living in a country governed by the rule of law. America must continue to be that place," he said. "Whether we are Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, we all have a role to play in making this democracy work. We look forward to better days."

The Business Roundtable, an association of 200 CEOs from many of America's largest companies, released a statement urging Trump and other officials to "put an end to the chaos and to facilitate the peaceful transition of power."

Brad Smith, president of Microsoft retweeted the organization's post, saying "this is a day to speak up for our Constitution and its values."

Mike Sommers, president and CEO of American Petroleum Institute, said on Twitter that he worked at the US Capitol for 10 years and his company stands with the members of Congress, Capitol staff and the Capitol police. "The violence there today is unspeakable, undercuts the peaceful transition of power, and has no place in America." 

Thomas J. Donohue, CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 3 million businesses in America, published a statement Wednesday saying that "The attacks against our nation's Capitol Building and our democracy must end now." 

"We extend our respect and appreciation to all of the law enforcement officials who are protecting our government, our elected officials and our fellow citizens," he said.

Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, also issued a statement on Wednesday saying that he was "devastated by this assault on what our country has stood for since its founding: free, fair and peaceful elections."

"Now is the time to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in unity - not face-to-face in conflict - and to chart our path to a better and healthier future," Gorsky said.

US automakers spoke out against the unprecedented events as well. General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who has feuded with Trump in the past but was previously on board with his administration's plans to combat California's tough emissions rules, issued a statement Wednesday saying it's "imperative that we 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 US Capitol does not reflect who we are as a nation," Barra said. 

Ford CEO Jim Farley and Executive Chairman Bill Ford described the riots as "destructive acts against our shared principles and beliefs" in a statement Wednesday. 

"There are no easy lessons to learn from this moment," they said. "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."

Boeing CEO David Calhoun released a statement Thursday afternoon urging the Trump administration "to work with President-elect Biden to unify our nation."

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