George W. Bush derides US Capitol breach as ‘sickening and heartbreaking’

“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,” Bush said.

In the US, he maintained, “it is the fundamental responsibility of every patriotic citizen to support the rule of law. To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment.”

Bush’s message came alongside chaos at the Capitol after supporters spurred by President Donald Trump breached the complex, throwing into doubt when Congress would resume counting Electoral College votes and declare President-elect Joe Biden the winner of the election.

Only after pleading from aides and congressional allies inside the besieged Capitol did Trump release a video urging the rioters to “go home,” while still fanning their misplaced grievances about a stolen election.

In the video, he also praised the crowd, who broke into the Capitol using force, stole items from its rooms and posed for photographs in the legislative chambers. “We love you,” Trump said. “You’re very special.”

Bush, meanwhile, warned in his statement that “Insurrection could do grave damage to our Nation and reputation” and pleaded for people to “Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety.”

While Bush has largely stayed out of politics since leaving office in January 2009, he was quick to congratulate Biden in November, both in a phone call and in a statement that said while Trump has the right to pursue legal challenges and recounts, the race was “fundamentally fair” and “its outcome is clear.”

“Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush had said. “The President-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans. I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can.”

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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