Commercial Real Estate Groups Condemn Mob Violence in DC

The chaos is also likely to ignite a debate on security at federal buildings

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A historic day that was supposed to be about confirming the electoral count for President-elect Joe Biden instead turned into chaos, as hundreds of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, resulting in the National Guard being called to action.

“The D.C. Guard has been mobilized to provide support to federal law enforcement in the District,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said.

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Protesters broke windows and pushed through barriers to enter the Capitol, with images showing an armed standoff and other violent actions between officers and rioters both inside and outside the building. Flash bangs could also be heard near the steps of the Capitol as smoke filled the air. 

One Trump supporter was shown standing at the Senate dais and another sitting in the office chair of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as law enforcement had little control over the situation early on.

Both senators and members of the House were evacuated to an undisclosed location, and those on both sides of the aisle expressed their commitment to completing the certification for Biden on Wednesday evening, once everything is safe.

Commercial real estate groups joined other business organizations in quickly condemning the attack on the Capitol. 

“The violent actions by rioters at the U.S. Capitol are disgraceful, anti-American and must be condemned by every elected official in our nation, regardless of party affiliation,” James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said in a statement late Wednesday.

The Business Roundtable, a national group that includes commercial real estate interests, blamed the violence on efforts to overturn the presidential election. 

“The chaos unfolding in the nation’s capital is the result of unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election,” the Business Roundtable said in a statement late Wednesday afternoon. “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 National Association of Realtors weighed in around the same time in a similar vein. “The scenes we are watching unfold as a nation are shocking and leave us in disbelief,” NAR President Charlie Oppler said in a statement. “America’s largest trade association stands with our democracy and our nation’s centuries-old observance of peaceful protests and the peaceful transfer of power. What happened today at the U.S. Capitol was an assault on both.”

The same went for the National Retail Federation, whose president and chief executive officer, Matthew Shay, issued this on Wednesday: “Today’s riots are repugnant and fly in the face of the most basic tenets of our Constitution, and the administration must move quickly to provide the leadership that will end this affront to our democracy.”

Inside Congress 2 Win McNamee Getty Images Commercial Real Estate Groups Condemn Mob Violence in DC
Rioters were able to force their way into Capitol and to disrupt both houses of Congress. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Inside Win McNamee Getty Images Commercial Real Estate Groups Condemn Mob Violence in DC

It was also quickly clear that the mob action would result in a review of security at the Capitol complex and other government buildings in Washington. The federal government is one of the biggest occupiers of commercial real estate in the D.C. region.

More immediately, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has set a curfew for 6 p.m. in the District and the National Guard from both Virginia and Maryland are on their way to help control the situation.

President Donald Trump waited nearly three hours to release a recorded statement asking people to go home and be peaceful in their actions, though he seemed to spur those same people on by continuing to insist Biden’s victory over him in November was fraudulent.

According to CNN, several federal police officers had been injured and at least one person killed. Congress completed the certification of the victory of Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris early Thursday morning.