Yesterday afternoon, as members of the United States Congress began the process of ratifying President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral votes, an angry mob of pro-Trump supporters broke into the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., reportedly to disrupt proceedings and put a halt to the presidential transition process.
These unprecedented events shocked the country — and the world — and led to at least one tragic death and multiple injuries.
Though Congress was able to reconvene late in the night to complete the ratification process, both political and business leaders have expressed outrage at the day’s events, with some calling on Vice President Mike Pence to “seriously consider working with the Cabinet” to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office for inciting the violence.
Others have urged unity and peace during this polarizing moment in America. Below are reactions from leaders throughout the footwear and retail industries.
The Baltimore-based athletic brand — whose founder, Kevin Plank, was for a time part of Trump’s American Manufacturing Council — posted a statement on Twitter from its CEO, Patrik Frisk. “The violence and unrest at the Capitol today put our country’s values into question,” the statement read. “But what’s not a question is there are better ways to lift up America. Under Armour stands for a peaceful and orderly transition of power. What we do today sets the course for tomorrow. Democracy is a team sport.”
— Under Armour (@UnderArmour) January 7, 2021
In a post on Instagram, Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert not only condemned the violence at the Capitol this week but also highlighted “the double standard” in the way that law enforcement responded to the crisis, compared with the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, D.C., last year. He went on to add, “We support leaders from around the country who are calling for the president and his enablers to be removed from office immediately. We are committed, as ever, to doing our part to support our democracy and to ensure that it is equitable and accessible for everyone.”
Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America
In a statement provided to FN, FDRA president and CEO Matt Priest said, “Yesterday was a horrific and unsettling day in the history of our nation. The violence and terror that played out on our TV screens hit team FDRA especially hard as a number of us worked on Capitol Hill and have spent countless hours walking the very halls that were overtaken yesterday. The defining moment yesterday was the fact that the U.S. Congress DID fulfill its constitutional requirement to count the electoral votes certified by the states, in spite of the mob. We call on the peaceful transition of power — something that sets the United States of America apart from many parts of the world — and look forward to working with the new Congress and the Biden Administration to calm tensions and ease political strife. Our very Republic is counting on it.”
American Apparel & Footwear Association
The major trade organization for the apparel and footwear industries issued a statement about the Capitol riot on Wednesday evening. “The American Apparel & Footwear Association is saddened and disturbed by the violent assault on our democracy and democratic values,” the statement read. “Today’s scenes may have begun as peaceful protest, but quickly escalated into a direct attack on our nation’s core beliefs and way of life when an armed mob stormed the Capitol. This was unacceptable; it was crime against the United States and its people.” The message further implored the country to unite behind a peaceful transfer of power. “We have a great deal of work ahead of us to heal our nation and our economy, and our democratic institutions must be fully defended so they can be fully deployed to support that work,” said AAFA.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The D.C.-based lobbying organization responded quickly on Wednesday afternoon with a statement urging the protestors to stand down and let the Democratic process proceed. “The attacks against our nation’s Capitol Building and our democracy must end now,” the group said at 4:30 p.m., further adding its thanks to police and security officials who were at risk from harm during the break-in. “We extend our respect and appreciation to all of the law enforcement officials who are protecting our government, our elected officials and our fellow citizens.”
The association — which consists of chief execs from America’s top companies and is currently chaired by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon — issued the following statement about the Capitol violence: “The chaos unfolding in the nation’s capital is the result of unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election. The country deserves better. Business Roundtable calls on the President and all relevant officials to put an end to the chaos and to facilitate the peaceful transition of power.”
The always-outspoken footwear designer hasn’t been shy about discussing the events in Washington on Twitter, at one point stating: “We have an ‘increasingly desperate,’ and ‘deeply disturbed individual’ in the White House who has full access to the Nuclear Code.” However, this morning, Cole — who has championed mental health awareness throughout the pandemic — offered a message of healing, providing links to resources for support. And with his signature humor, he provided a bit of levity, summing up how many of us are feeling right now about the new year.
— Kenneth Cole (@kennethcolereal) January 7, 2021
In a statement on her Instagram Stories, designer Chloe Gosselin made clear her stance on the violent unrest in Washington, issuing a statement aimed at those who share her feelings — and those who don’t. “I know I have been angry today. But I know you are too! If you aren’t, please unfollow me,” she wrote. “I know I represent a brand & the fashion business but I won’t silence my opinions to sell shoes… It’s time to be awake & unite to assure a decent future for our children.” She finished by adding, “Sending love to you all.”