US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Vice President Mike Pence listen as President Donald Trump speaks of the government’s closing on January 25, 2019, from the White House rose garden in Washington, DC. – Trump says he will sign a bill to reopen the government until February 15.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – Members of President Donald Trump’s 23-member cabinet on Wednesday issued harsh reprimands over the violence unfolding in the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to halt the trial to declare Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
However, the officials did not criticize the president, who urged his supporters to take action.
Trump had previously encouraged thousands of supporters at a rally outside the White House to march to the Capitol to protest what were historically ceremonial procedures. Trump returned to the White House after his speech and later told supporters in a tweeted video “you have to go home now.”
“These were fraudulent elections … but you have to go home,” Trump said to the protesters, “We love you. You are very special,” before ending his remarks.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday evening, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the storming of the US Capitol “unacceptable”.
“Lawlessness and riots – here or around the world – is always unacceptable,” wrote the country’s top diplomat.
“Let’s quickly bring justice to the criminals involved in these riots,” Pompeo wrote, adding “America is better than what we saw today.”
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen wrote in a statement, “The violence against our nation’s Capitol is an excruciating assault on a fundamental institution of our democracy.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the Justice Department sent hundreds of federal law enforcement officers and agents from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and the U.S. Marshals Service to quell protests.
Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia called the riots “a low point in the history of American democracy.”
Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf also condemned the violence, writing that “no one has the right to attack ANY federal agency, regardless of motivation.”
He added that those involved in the riots should be held accountable for their actions.
Housing and Urban Development Minister Ben Carson also joined calls to end violence in Washington.
“Stop this violence now. Violence is never an appropriate response, regardless of legitimate concerns. Please remember, if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand,” Carson wrote.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar wrote that he was “disgusted” by the violence that ensued in the US Capitol.
“Physical violence and the desecration of this sacred symbol of our democracy must end,” Azar added.
“Most importantly, I want you all to stay safe. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones,” Azar wrote in a subsequent tweet.
In a tweet, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote on Wednesday evening, “Violence is always unacceptable. We must respect our constitution and our democratic process.”
Likewise, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross wrote on Twitter that “violence is never the right solution.”
“The eyes of America’s children and students – the rising generation that will inherit the republic we leave them – are watching what is unfolding in Washington today,” wrote Elisabeth DeVos, Trump’s education secretary, adding: “we must be a better example to them.”
“The disruptions and violence must end, the law must be enforced and the work of the people must continue,” DeVos wrote.