Former President George W. Bush emphatically urged anyone who is standing in the way of newly-elected officials taking office to get out of the way. He also had strong words for some political leaders.
The 74-year-old Bush released a statement on social media and at the George W. Bush Presidential Center website, expressing anger for what he called a “sickening and heartbreaking sight” at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. On Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 6), protestors on Capitol grounds grew violent, and a group of insurgents breached the building. Law enforcement used tear gas and a curfew to disperse the crowds by early evening, but the scene remained tense. The group was there to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump.
There were dozens of American flags — and Trump flags — flying on the ground in Washington, and a banner was draped over the Capitol balcony for most of the afternoon.
Bush watched with wife Laura and compared the insurgency to what happens in the “banana 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,” he says. The full statement is below:
Laura and I are watching the scenes of mayhem unfolding at the seat of our Nation’s government in disbelief and dismay. It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight. 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. The violent assault on the Capitol – and disruption of a Constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress – was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes. Insurrection could do grave damage to our Nation and reputation. In the United States of America, it is the fundamental responsibility of every patriotic citizen to support the rule of law. To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment. Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety. May God continue to bless the United States of America.
In closing, Bush emphasizes that those upset about the election results needed to stand down. Much of the rhetoric offered by those chanting reinforced the idea that the election was fraudulent — an idea that President Trump has clung to, despite several legal cases being dismissed by the courts.
In his short remarks amid the violence, President Trump told the mob to go home while reinserting that the election was fraudulent. He also told the insurgency he loved them.
Singers Tim McGraw, Cassadee Pope and Jason Isbell were among the first to speak about the scene in Washington, D.C., publicly, using social media as their chosen platform. One woman was killed and an unknown number of injuries sustained as law enforcement battled the mob. By 8PM Wednesday, Congress had reconvened to certify the results of the presidential election — an event that became the spark for the violence.