The four living former U.S. presidents united in criticism of Wednesday’s events, with Barack Obama directing much of his ire to the ”sitting president” and George W. Bush citing the “behavior of some political leaders.”
Democrat Bill Clinton was particularly specific: “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. The election was free, the count was fair, the result is final.”
Jimmy Carter spoke much more generally, but all four voiced strong disagreement over the actions of rioters who forced Wednesday’s evacuation of the House and Senate chambers.
Obama painted the picture of disarray. “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 …” Obama said.
“Right now, Republican leaders have a choice … 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.”
Bush, the only living former Republican president, seemed to reference Trump’s election-fraud narrative in his statement. “I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders … 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.”
Carter, also a Democrat, was “troubled” by the day’s events.”This is a national tragedy and is not who we are as a nation,” he said.
Obama said the country needs more GOP leaders like those who condemned the mob behavior. “I’ve been heartened to see many members of the president’s party speak up forcefully today,” he said.