Co-ops and credit unions condemn US Capitol Hill violence

Pro-Trump rioters forced their way into the building and tried to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election results

The US co-operative and credit union movements have condemned yesterday’s violence at the Capitol when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building, forcing a lockdown.

The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (Nafcu) president and CEO Dan Berger issued the following statement in response to the incident: “Regardless of our political ideologies, violence and destruction of property is unacceptable.

“Nafcu believes in the Constitution and tolerance, and the violent chaos on Capitol Hill is attacking the foundations of our democracy. This is a sad moment for our country; Nafcu is committed to bringing about changes for a brighter future.”

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA), another apex for the sector, released a similar statement. CUNA president/CEO Jim Nussle said: “As I watch the assault on the US Capitol unfold, I am first reminded of the oath of office that I once took and to my commitment to the Constitution and the principles which underpin our democracy. What we are witnessing is outrageous, without precedent, and runs counter to our values as Americans.”

He added: “Our democracy is facing a crucial test – one that is a culmination of the increasingly polarising and divisive political environment and one that simultaneously demands we reconcile who we, as Americans, have become with who we should be. 

“I am confident that the foundation of our democracy is strong, having withstood multiple tests to our national character. This moment cannot be lost on us and presents an opportunity for us to do better and be better.”

Doug O’Brien, the president and CEO of National Cooperative Business Association in the USA (NCBA CLUSA), also condemned the attack on the US Capitol, which, he said, was an attack on the democratic process.

He said in a statement: “For 105 years, NCBA CLUSA has stood with the co-operative movement and others seeking to build democratic institutions and societies. While we have witnessed direct attacks on the democratic process in many other countries, we never imagined it could occur in ours. Just as we have condemned mob attacks around the world, we condemn the attack on the US Capitol. Yesterday’s failed insurrection at the US Capitol, while staggering, did finally end with Congress meeting its Constitutional duty and fulfilling the will of the American people in the presidential election. Now is the time for people in the United States and around the world to recommit to the democratic principles that ensures the will of the people is expressed by their elected officials.

“The treatment of the people who stormed the Capitol versus others who have demonstrated for social change in recent months is startling. This is just the latest in a series of events of the past year that have laid bare the inadequacies of our nation’s institutions to address issues of intolerance, inequality and race. Never has there been a more important time to work against the injuries of systemic racism as we seek to bolster our democratic institutions. On behalf of the over 65,000 co-operative businesses in the US who operate with democracy, equity and inclusion as part of our DNA, we will continue to strive toward a more equitable and just society.”

Congress was able to reconvene after the violence and has now certified Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice-president of the US.