January 7, 2021
By Alexander Vuocolo
In the last 24 hours, business leaders from nearly every corner of the U.S. economy have roundly condemned the violence and vandalism at Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
Manufacturers, retailers, and corporate head-honchos alike have criticized President Donald Trump and certain Republicans’ efforts to delay the peaceful transfer of power, which they say will only hurt the U.S. economy.
“It is not good for small businesses to have disarray, confusion, uncertainty,” Frank Knapp Jr, co-chair of Small Business for America’s Future, told Cheddar. “None of that is good for business or consumer confidence, and small businesses need consumers to be confident.”
Some of the most powerful business organizations in the country have echoed this sentiment, and in some cases even exceeded it, calling Wednesday’s events a grave assault on democracy.
“Throughout this whole disgusting episode, Trump has been cheered on by members of his own party, adding fuel to the distrust that has inflamed violent anger,” National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement. “This is not law and order. This is chaos.”
The group has also called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office prior to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Retail Industry Leaders Association President Brian Dodge said in a statement: “It’s time for men and women of goodwill in government to denounce the conspiracy theories and cancerous rhetoric employed by those cravenly attempting to capitalize on political chaos.”
Striking a more moderate tone, the Business Roundtable called on the nation to “unite around President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris.”
Even BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, who in the past has praised the president, was among those executives demanding that Congress certify the election of Joe Biden as president.
For now, these are just denunciations. But some businesses are weighing whether they should withdraw funding or support from lawmakers who, in their opinion, helped spur the violence at Capitol Hill by calling into question the democratic process.
“We have not had that conversation about individual members of Congress, but we will have to have a serious conversation about that,” Knapp said. “Do we want to engage with them or not? I can’t answer that question, but it is a legitimate question. It’s a legitimate question to ask: should there be any repercussions for the actions of members of Congress, and does the business community have a role in that?”
Knapp added that businesses don’t want to operate in a country where an authoritarian leader has arbitrary power over the political system.
“Businesses like democracy, because that is good for business, entrepreneurship.”
In the short-term, the more immediate negative consequence for the small business community is that Congress is once again distracted from the coronavirus recovery.
“It takes the eye off the ball for Congress,” he said. “They should be about getting the vaccine out there into arms. That is what’s going to give more confidence to consumers to go out and engage in commerce with our small businesses.”