Industry responds to U.S. Capitol attack

Washington DC National Capitol Building
The U.S. Capitol building was breached by rioters on Jan. 6. Photo credit: Getty/lucky-photographer

Supporters of President Donald Trump on Wednesday broke into the U.S. Capitol Building while both the Senate and House of Representatives were in session to certify the election of Joe Biden as the 46th president.

Trump, according to The New York Times, called Jan. 6 a day to gather in Washington to “save America” and “stop the steal” of the election he had decisively lost. 

In a tweet from Dec. 19, 2020, President Trump promised a “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th" that would “be wild!”

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In a follow-up, on Dec. 30, 2020, he said, “JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!"

The day began with a rally by the president, where he said, “We will never give up, we will never concede—it doesn’t happen.” Later, Trump added: “And after this, we're going to walk down there, and I'll be there with you, we're going to walk down ... to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. And we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong."

This led to Trump supporters storming the U.S. Capitol and breaking into offices, while Congress members had to be put on lockdown and moved to secure locations before ratifying Biden’s election victory in the middle of the night. Four people had died by the end of the day.

The Industry Responds

Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors, issued a statement following the event that many are calling a terrorist attack: “We watched yesterday’s events at the U.S. Capitol with a mixture of shock, sadness and disappointment. This was an assault not just on a building that is the acknowledged worldwide symbol of democracy and freedom, but also an act of violence and intimidation at a place where many of our friends and neighbors work. Four people lost their lives in yesterday’s mayhem, with many more injured. Physical intimidation can never be how we resolve disagreements in this country, however inflamed political passions may grow.

"We commend law enforcement for minimizing harm to people and property and quickly bringing the situation under control, and lawmakers for promptly resuming the work they are sworn to do.

“Today, our country as a whole and the travel industry in particular are facing challenges with few parallels in history all while under the clouds of this horrific pandemic that has yet to abate. We need to come together as a people, through our elected officials in Washington, and do what needs to be done to get through this crisis and start building a better future.”

AAHOA President & CEO Cecil P. Staton issued a similar statement: “Our nation and commitment to the freedom of speech are only strong and meaningful when they rest upon a foundation of civility and respect for the law. What we witnessed today was not a free expression of speech but mayhem designed expressly to impede and ultimately upend the peaceful transfer of power that has been a hallmark of our democracy since 1797.

“Today's violence and destruction have no place in our society, and we condemn this unAmerican behavior. We applaud Vice President Pence and our leaders in Congress for honoring the will of the American people by resuming their proceedings and certifying President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. The peaceful transition of power must continue unimpeded for the good of our nation.”

U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow, in a statement added: “We are profoundly heartbroken by the disturbing actions at the U.S. Capitol that are being viewed around the world. The behavior we are witnessing has no place in any peaceful democracy, much less in the country that is supposed to be the foremost example of democratic principles.

“Working American families depend on a productive government to facilitate their livelihoods—especially in this time of unprecedented crisis and challenge—and the willful disruption of our democratic transition is an unacceptable act of harm that is felt not just in Washington, but in every corner of the country.

“With all our hearts, we urge the swift and peaceful end to the chaos and mayhem in our capital city, and that we come together to heal and move forward for the sake of our country and our future.”

Parts of this article originally appeared on Hotel Management's sister site www.travelagentcentral.com.