WASHINGTON - First lady Michelle Obama issued a statement following the pro-Trump riot that occurred on Wednesday involving a mob the president’s supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol and violently clashed with law enforcement.
In the statement, Obama spoke of the mixed feelings of the day after she awoke Wednesday to the news of Raphael Warnock’s election victory in Georgia as the state’s first Black senator. Her tone shifted as she reflected on the events that followed Congress’ attempts to certify the electoral votes that secured President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election win.
"I woke up yesterday elated by the news of Reverend Raphael Warnock's election victory. He'll be Georgia's first Black senator, and I was heartened by the idea that the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church—the home parish of Dr. King and a spiritual and organizational hub during the Civil Rights Movement—would be representing his state in the United States Senate," Obama began her statement.
"In just a few hours, though, my heart had fallen harder and faster than I can remember," Obama added. "Like all of you, I watched as a gang - organized, violent, and mad they’d lost an election - laid siege to the United States Capitol."
"They set up gallows. They proudly waved the traitorous flag of the Confederacy through the halls. They desecrated the center of American government. And once authorities finally gained control of the situation, these rioters and gang members were led out of the building not in handcuffs, but free to carry on with their days," she said.
"The day was a fulfillment of the wishes of an infantile and unpatriotic president who can't handle the truth of his own failures. And the wreckage lays at the feet of a party and media apparatus that gleefully cheered him on, knowing full well the possibility of consequences like these," Obama continued.
Her husband, former President Barack Obama, issued a statement on Twitter in the wake of the pro-Trump riot on Wednesday.
Obama wrote, "History will rightly remember today's violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation. But we'd be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise."
Obama continued, "Right now, Republican leaders have a choice made clear in the desecrated chambers of democracy. They can continue down this road and keep stoking the raging fires. Or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America."
Other former presidents echoed Obama’s disgust at the violent insurrection that took place, including former Republican President George W. Bush, who issued a statement saying that it was a "sickening and heartbreaking sight."
"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," Bush wrote.
Bush continued, "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."
Former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, said the attack on the U.S. Capitol was fueled over four years of "poison politics" and lit by Trump himself.
Clinton said in a statement Wednesday night that the riot at the Capitol resulted from a combination of deliberate disinformation that created distrust in the system and pit Americans against one another.
He wrote, "The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost."
Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter also released a statement Wednesday evening.
Carter wrote, "Rosalynn and I are troubled by the violence at the U.S. Capitol today. This is a national tragedy and is not who we are as a nation."