Leaders from D.C., corporate America and around the globe condemn Trump for attempted government coup.
Reaction to President Trump’s attempt at insurrection and a literal mob-enforced stealing of the vote has been swift and dramatic, ever since angry rioters and domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol building on the afternoon of Jan. 6, at his bequest.
Among leaders in Washington D.C., Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer called for President Trump’s immediate removal from office, either by his Cabinet or through impeachment.
Vice President Mike Pence proclaimed we had just experienced a “dark day in the history of the United States Capitol” and added “To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house.”
Senator Mitch McConnell, an ardent Trump supporter who had broken with the outgoing President just hours earlier by refusing to go along with his plan to disenfranchise millions of voters, called the event a “failed insurrection.”
“They tried to disrupt our democracy,” McConnell said. “They failed. They failed.”
Around the world, the reaction was similarly scathing.
“Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted. “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.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was equally dismayed, saying she was both angry and sad.
“A basic rule of democracy is that after elections there are winners and losers,” Merkel said. “Both have their part to play with decency and responsibility so that democracy itself remains secure. And I very much regret that President Trump has not admitted defeat since November and failed to do so again yesterday.”
Meanwhile, in the corporate world, even as the stock market appeared to turn a blind eye to the chaos that was going on in the nation’s capital, with NASDAQ up nearly 400 points and closing at a record high, business leaders too had harsh words following the events of the day.
Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (a trade group which represents more than 14,000 companies including Exxon Mobil Corp, Pfizer Inc. and Toyota Motor Corp) issued a harsh critique, calling on Vice President Pence and top White House officials to invoke the 25th Amendment and immediately remove President Trump from office.
Jim Fitterling, CEO of Dow (No. 22 on The 2020 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list), tweeted, admonishing the seditious breach on the Capitol and reiterating that “Before all else, we are Americans. The challenges we face require us to come together, urgently.”
Tom Fanning, Chairman, President and CEO of Southern Company (No. 26 in 2020) said in a tweet that “The dangerous, violent actions perpetrated by an unlawful group of domestic terrorists at the U.S. Capitol undermines the very essence of what we stand for as a nation. It is time to do away with division and animosity and forge ahead together to create a better future for all.”
Alex Gorsky, CEO and chairman of Johnson & Johnson (DiversityInc Hall of Fame company) shared a similar sentiment in his company statement: “As an American, as a colleague to tens of thousands of Johnson & Johnson employees in the country, and as a U.S. military veteran who served overseas to protect our democracy, I’m 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.”
CNBC reported that Charlie Scharf, CEO of Wells Fargo (No. 11 in 2020) was also appalled, saying the “behavior in Washington, D.C. today is unacceptable and completely undermines who we are as a nation.” He also called for an “immediate end to this violence.”
Even Facebook, which had previously gone very light on Trump and his ongoing spread of misinformation, decided it was finally time to take a stand. In an internal message reported on by Axios, the social media giant’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, wrote “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. The peaceful transition of power is critical to the functioning of our democracy, and we need our political leaders to lead by example and put the nation first.”
After first removing a lie-filled video the president had posted following the Capitol break-in, Zuckerberg then decided to ban the President from Facebook and Instagram until at least the end of his term, according to The New York Times.
Congress approves measure to bolster diversity within the military.
When Congress recently came together in a rare bit of bipartisan unity to override Trump’s veto of the Defense spending bill, they didn’t just approve billions of dollars for new weapon technology and a pay raise for military troops, they also (perhaps unknowingly) passed legislation designed to bring about a heightened focus on diversity issues, as well as promoting efforts to combat white supremacy and extremist behavior within the U.S. military, according to Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio.
The bill included language within an amendment that allowed for the creation of a new deputy inspector general position that would focus entirely on carrying “out audits, investigations and evaluations of military personnel policies, programs and systems to ensure they address diversity priorities,” Capaccio reported.
In a statement celebrating the bill’s passage, California representative Jackie Speier, who heads the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel panel, said the new deputy inspector general position “will keep the heat on the military to make sure that racial inequality does not fade from the priority list and that these provisions are implemented successfully.”
Capaccio added that while military leaders have generally been supportive of efforts to improve diversity within the various military branches (where men and women of color now make up more than 40% of the active-duty force), more work is definitely needed. “[In December 2020,] Air Force officials concluded that Black airmen face widespread disparities in opportunities and treatment compared to fellow service members,” Capaccio wrote. Another report from the review revealed that “enlisted Black troops were 57% more likely to face court-martials and are promoted less often — facts made even more evident in a survey of 123,000 Air Force members which reported that up to one-third of Black respondents didn’t believe the military provided them with the same opportunities as their white peers.”
U.S. courts could be biased against LGBTQ individuals and others for decades, new report warns.
With the end of the Trump administration growing ever closer, nonprofit civil rights organization Lambda Legal has released a report titled “Courts, Confirmations & Consequences,” which examines the backgrounds, histories and court rulings of the judges appointed to federal courts over the last four years, and what these appointments could mean for diversity efforts and minority groups within the country going forward.
Among the group’s findings:
- Nearly 40% of the federal judges that Trump has appointed to the courts of appeals have a demonstrated history of hostility towards the LGBTQ+ community.
- Nearly 85% of all of Trump’s circuit court nominees were white and 80 percent were men, while none of his circuit court nominees were Black.
- Almost one-third of the circuit court judgeships are now Trump judges (54 out of 179).
- 85% of Trump’s circuit court nominees are or have been affiliated with the Federalist Society.
“While Donald Trump’s presidency may be coming to end, his devastating impact on our federal courts will take decades to reverse,” Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings said in a statement, calling the research a “call-to-action” for President-elect Joe Biden. “When the basic human rights of LGBTQ+ Americans are so often challenged in court, we cannot accept a judiciary stacked with judges who would disenfranchise these vulnerable groups.”
Lambda Legal’s message for reform joins an ever-growing chorus of voices pleading to the upcoming Biden administration for change and reform in America’s courts — on every level — following the activity of the last four years.
D.I. Fast Facts
Percentage of COVID-19 infections that are transmitted by people who aren’t showing any symptoms of being ill, according to a new disease progression model recently developed by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
— Washington Post
Number of deaths in the U.S. due to the coronavirus on Wednesday, Jan. 6., while the Capitol was under assault. That makes the day the deadliest yet in the country since the pandemic began nearly 10 months ago.
— Washington Post
23 million acres
Size of a swath of land in arctic Alaska territory that the Trump administration just made available for long-term leasing and oil development, less than two weeks before the end of his Presidency. The region, which includes a vast section of Teshekpuk Lake (one of the largest lakes in Alaska) is a National Wildlife Refuge and is a key area for local indigenous people. It had previously been considered off-limits for oil drilling since the 1980s. Alarmed environmentalists have already sued in an attempt to overturn the plan.
— NBC News