WASHINGTON — Even as a crisis that began in Washington Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. continued to unfold, Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the American Bakers Association, sent the group’s members a blog decrying the violence and expressing “anger, disgust, and outrage at the situation that is unfolding right now.”
The blog was sent late in the afternoon before Washington police had fully secured the Capitol building, arresting dozens and pushing away a mob that breached the property sending members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence scrambling for safety.
Members of the Senate and House of Representatives were in joint session to count and certify electoral votes for the presidential election. President Donald Trump had urged supporters to convene on Washington to protest congressional ratification of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. After a speech by President Trump, hundreds of protesters marched on the Capitol, breaking through barricades, mobbing the Capitol rotunda, breaking through the doors to the wing of the building containing the House chamber and breaking into the Senate chamber. Later that night, Congress returned to Capitol Hill and confirmed Mr. Biden’s victory.
Located on Pennsylvania Avenue, the offices of the American Bakers Association are situated almost exactly between the White House and Capitol Hill — roughly a 15-minute walk from each. Mr. MacKie said the offices were closed Jan. 6 because of advance warnings by Washington police of the likelihood of protests and the potential for violence. His blog follows:
Never in my 30+ years in Washington would I imagine that I would be writing a note like this about the situation that unfolded in Washington today.
First, I thank ABA’s members for their outpouring of support and concern for our staff. I assure you that even though we have been in limited office access status for the past nine months, we took the added precaution of closing the ABA Office on Pennsylvania Avenue for the week. We were told by the DC Metropolitan Police over the weekend that there was the potential for numerous protests and hints of violence associated with those protests. I can assure you that the ABA team is all at home and are safe. However, we have a couple of team members with spouses that are in and around the Capitol complex. It is a very volatile situation at the moment, so please keep them in your thoughts.
I am at a loss to adequately describe the mixture of anger, disgust, and outrage at the situation that is unfolding right now and the complete lack of leadership by our elected officials in dealing with it. In my opinion, and it is your right to disagree with me, the fault for the current situation lies solely with President Trump. He has instigated this situation with his ongoing false and repeatedly disproven allegations of a stolen election. He has continued to inflame the passions of his supporters and even has gone so far as to attack his own Vice President who is merely fulfilling his constitutional responsibility. His actions led to an attempt to physically harm the Vice President who was forced to evacuate the Capitol this afternoon. Again, for simply performing his constitutional responsibility. The President has lost all sense of reality and unfortunately, the country is suffering for it.
As Americans, we are a nation of laws. If we don’t like the laws, we have ample means to peacefully address those laws. The strongest tool is our system of elections. While never flawless, our election system works very well and false allegations otherwise tear at our very soul and fabric as a country. We have laws that allow for challenges to election outcomes to be aired and decided. While we may not like the outcome, we rest comfortably knowing that the next opportunity to make a change is just two years away. Our Constitution and laws also explicitly prohibit the violent protests that are occurring in the US Capitol right now. This is not reflective of the America that I know and love.
I ask that you keep the ABA team in your thoughts and prayers, but most importantly that you pray for our country during this enormously disturbing time.