'Banana republic': Former presidents, current lawmakers react in shock after mob breaks into Capitol

WASHINGTON -- A mob of violent protesters made its way into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, forcing police to evacuate lawmakers and delaying the constitutional process to affirm Joe Biden's victory in the November election. Some of the reaction:

Vice President-elect Joe Biden



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President-elect Joe Biden has called the violent protests on the U.S. Capitol "an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people's business."


"To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, and to threaten the safety of duly elected officials is not protest. It is insurrection. The world is watching - and like so many other Americans, I am shocked and saddened that our nation, so long a beacon of light, hope and democracy, has come to such a dark moment."

Former President Barack Obama



"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. For two months now, a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth - that this was not a particularly close election and that President-Elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20. Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we're seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo."

Former President George W. Bush


"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. 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."

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National Geographic photographer Louie Palu documents the siege inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6.



Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, California



"The people breaking into the Capitol are the same people that scream about law and order when there are Black Lives Matter protests. The people that are attacking Capitol Police officers right now are the same people that say they stand with the police. There will be thousands of videos and photos from this incident. That's all evidence. Every single person that broke into the Capitol should be arrested. Every single person that scaled the Capitol with rope should be arrested. Every single person that broke into Speaker Pelosi's office should be arrested. Every single person that broke into the Senate Chamber should be arrested. Every single person that scaled the Capitol with rope should be arrested. Every single person that broke into Speaker Pelosi's office should be arrested. Every single person that broke into the Senate Chamber should be arrested."

Former first lady Michelle Obama




"Seeing the gulf between the responses to yesterday's riot and this summer's peaceful protests and the larger movement for racial justice is so painful. It hurts. And I cannot think about moving on or turning the page until we reckon with the reality of what we saw yesterday. True progress will be possible only once we acknowledge that this disconnect exists and take steps to repair it. And that also means coming to grips with the reality that millions voted for a man so obviously willing to burn our democracy down for his own ego."

Vice President Mike Pence



"The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building. Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Gabby Giffords



"As I sat waiting for information about @SenMarkKelly's safety today, I couldn't stop thinking about what you must have gone through 10 years ago this week. I'm so glad you and your staff are safe. I love you, sweetie."

Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas



"Violence is always unacceptable. Even when passions run high. Anyone engaged in violence-especially against law enforcement-should be fully prosecuted. God bless the Capitol Police and the honorable men & women of law enforcement who show great courage keeping all of us safe."

Sen. Ben Sasse, Republican from Nebraska


"Today, the United States Capitol - the world's greatest symbol of self-government - was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard - tweeting against his Vice President for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution. Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President's addiction to constantly stoking division."

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York




"Our republic is in great danger, and it is imperiled further without swift action to protect it. The President incited an attack on Congress. He is deeply unstable. The Cabinet must invoke the 25th amendment. Congress must also pursue impeachment and removal of the President. Additionally, Congress must pass Congresswoman Cori Bush's resolution to investigate for sanction and expulsion any member of Congress who helped incite this attack on our nation."

WATCH: Video shows pro-Trump protesters scaling US Capitol Building
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Video shows pro-Trump protesters scaling US Capitol Building during joint session to confirm President-elect Biden's win.



Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York


"This is the final chapter of an incompetent, cruel, and divisive administration that has trampled on the Constitution and the rule of law at every turn, and we won't let President Trump, the members of Congress who enable him, or the lawless mob that stormed our nation's Capitol steal our democracy. The election results are clear and the will of the American people will be carried out."

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois


"You are not protecting the country. Where is the DC guard? You are done and your legacy will be a disaster," he said, quote tweeting Trump.



Kinzinger also called out Trump, claiming he is "not protecting the country."



Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican from Wyoming


"We just had a violent mob assault the Capitol in an attempt to prevent those from carrying out our Constitutional duty. There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame."

Former President Bill Clinton


"Today we faced an unprecedented assault on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our country. The assault was fueled by more than four years of poison politics spreading deliberate misinformation, sowing distrust in our system, and pitting Americans against one another. 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. We must complete the peaceful transfer of power our Constitution mandates."
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