Updated Jan 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Former presidents denounce "insurrection" at U.S. Capitol

 Former United States Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at an event

Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton denounced the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

What they're saying: Carter said in a statement he was "troubled by the violence," calling it a "national tragedy" that "is not who we are as a nation."

"I know that the the people can unite to walk back from the precipice to peacefully uphold the laws of our nation, and we must. We join our fellow citizens in praying for a peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries."
— Excerpt from Carter's statement

Bush condemned the "reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election" as he slammed the "sickening and heartbreaking sight" of rioters storming the U.S. Capitol.

"This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic," Bush said in a statement.

  • "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. Insurrection could do grave damage to our Nation and reputation."

Clinton said in a statement that "we faced an unprecedented assault on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our country."

  • He said the assault was "fueled by more than four years of poison politics spreading deliberate misinformation, sowing distrust in our system, and pitting Americans against one another."
  • Clinton added "the match was lit" by President Trump and his most ardent enablers, including in Congress, to overturn the results in an election he lost."

Obama didn't hold back in who was to blame in his statement on the insurrection, noting history would "rightly remember" that it was "incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Carter, Clinton and Obama's comments.

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