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Zuckerberg, Cook, other tech leaders condemn mob violence at Capitol

Apple's CEO calls the riot "a sad and shameful chapter" in US history.

Trump supporters converge on a doorway into the US Capitol
Trump supporters entered the US Capitol on Wednesday after mass demonstrations in the nation's capital during a joint session Congress to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The leaders of tech's biggest companies on Wednesday denounced the riot that occurred at the Capitol earlier in the day when a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters stormed a joint session of Congress. The violence began while lawmakers were assembled to count of Electoral College vote, confirming Vice President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

The violence that followed included multiple reports of shots fired and broken windows, the building being locked down and lawmakers evacuated, and troops from neighboring states and the National Guard being deployed on the complex to restore order. One woman died of gunshot wounds.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the violence marked "a sad and shameful chapter" in US history.

"Those responsible for this insurrection should be held to account, and we must complete the transition to President-elect Biden's administration," Cook tweeted Wednesday evening. "It's especially when they are challenged that our ideals matter most."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees in a memo that he was "saddened by this mob violence."

"The peaceful transition of power is critical to the functioning of our democracy, and we need our political leaders to lead by example and put the nation first," Zuckerberg said in his memo, seen by The New York Times.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai called "lawlessness and violence" at the Capitol "the antithesis of democracy."

"Holding free and safe elections and resolving our differences peacefully are foundational to the functioning of democracy," he wrote in a note to employees. "The lawlessness and violence occurring on Capitol Hill today is the antithesis of democracy and we strongly condemn it."

Several executives retweeted Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs for major US companies, which blamed the violence on "unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election."

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella retweeted Microsoft Chief Counsel Brad Smith's comments on the statement. Smith called Wednesday "a day to speak up for our Constitution and its values."

Intel CEO Bob Swan also retweeted the Business Roundtable's statement, adding that the chip giant "condemn[s] all acts of violence and attempts to unlawfully disrupt a democratic process that has long been a model for the world."

Arvind Krishna, chief executive of IBM, endorsed the statement, saying in a tweet that the company condemned "today's unprecedented lawlessness and we call for it to end immediately. These actions have no place in our society, and they must stop so our system of democracy can work."

On Thursday, AT&T CEO John Stankey weighed in as well, issuing a statement calling Wednesday's events, "an appalling insurrection bent on blocking the peaceful transfer of power following a free and fair election," and applauding those who thwarted it.

"Freedom, democracy and rule of law are America's bedrock and must never be usurped," Stankey added.