NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) – The heads of Wall Streets biggest firms, from JPMorgan Chase & Co and Blackstone Group to Goldman Sachs Group and BlackRock, called for violence to cease at the US Capitol, where President Donald Trump’s supporters overwhelmed police and stormed the halls of Congress on Wednesday (Jan 6).
“I strongly condemn the violence in our nation’s capital,” JPMorgan chief executive officer Jamie Dimon said in an emailed statement. “This is not who we are as a people or a country. We are better than this. 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.”
Mr Trump had encouraged supporters to come to Washington to back his efforts to overturn the result of November’s presidential election. The protests interrupted debates in the Senate and House of Representatives over whether President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes should be accepted from Arizona.
Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, one of Wall Street’s most prominent backers of Mr Trump, condemned the mob and called for an orderly transfer of power to Biden.
“The insurrection that followed the president’s remarks today is appalling and an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as Americans,” Mr Schwarzman said in a statement. “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.”
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink called the violence “an assault on our nation, our democracy and the will of the American people.”
“The peaceful transfer of power is the foundation of our democracy,” Fink said in a statement. “We are who we are as a nation because of our democratic institutions and process.”
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon urged the US to begin reinvesting in its democracy and rebuilding the institutions that have made America “an exceptional nation.”
“For years, our democracy has built a reservoir of goodwill around the world that brings important benefits for our citizens,” he said in a statement. “Recently, we have squandered that goodwill at an alarming pace, and today’s attack on the US Capitol does further damage.”
Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat said in a statement that he’s “disgusted by the actions of those who have stormed the US Capitol” to stop the election results from being certified.
“While these scenes are very difficult to watch, I have faith in our democratic process and know that the important work of Congress will continue and that people will be held accountable for their actions,” Mr Corbat said. “I pray this situation can be resolved without further bloodshed.”
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan called the events at the Capitol “appalling” and urged Americans to “move forward together peacefully, respectfully and with a singular, shared focus on our American ideals.”
George Walker, CEO of Neuberger Berman Group, said in a statement that “today’s events are heartbreaking but sadly not surprising.” Mr Walker was among almost 200 CEOs who signed a Partnership for New York City letter in November calling for an orderly presidential transition.
“Any form of violence is unconscionable and unacceptable,” Jefferies Financial Group CEO Rich Handler said in a statement. “All of our leaders must unequivocally condemn the unlawful actions at the Capitol and exert all efforts to bring them to an end.”
Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf also urged an immediate end to the violence.
“We must embark on the peaceful transition of power to President-elect Biden, a hallmark of our republic,” he said in a statement. “I encourage our leaders to come together to address the divisions in our society, ensure faith in our system and respect the electoral process.”
Al Kelly, CEO of Visa, also weighed in.
“Absolutely no facts since the election have surfaced to suggest that Biden’s victory is not totally legitimate,” Mr Kelly said in a memo to employees. “We at Visa stand 100% behind the results of the election and the collective voices of the citizens of this country.”