Telecom Leaders Respond to Capitol Riots

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Telecom leaders reacted to the chaos that erupted at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday when pro-Trump protestors overran police and gained entry to destroy portions of the historic building. What follows is a sample of tweets from AT&T and Verizon execs and FCC Commissioners.

Verizon Chairman & CEO Hans Vestberg:In light of the events currently unfolding in Washington D.C, the well-being of our V Team and customers remains our top priority. While we support the right for peaceful protests, we condemn the violence and rioting occurring in the nation’s capital.”

AT&T CEO John Stankey: “We applaud all those who stood strong to thwart an appalling insurrection bent on blocking the peaceful transfer of power following a free and fair election. Freedom, democracy and rule of law are America’s bedrock and must never be usurped. We congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on their Electoral College victory. There is much to be done to move the country forward.”

As a member of the Business Roundtable, AT&T fully supports the following Business Roundtable statement on the joint session of Congress to count electoral votes:

“Yesterday’s inexcusable violence and chaos at the Capitol makes clear that elected officials’ perpetuation of the fiction of a fraudulent 2020 presidential election is not only reprehensible, but also a danger to our democracy, our society and our economy.”

“As businesses who operate in and employ millions of people in all 50 states, we represent Americans of all political backgrounds who cast their votes on Election Day. While our ballots may have been divided, our support for the democratic process and the peaceful transition of power must be unequivocal.”

“After the unconscionable and tragic events we witnessed, it could not be clearer that it is time for the nation and lawmakers to unite around President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. It is only together that we can move forward to successfully confront our nation’s many challenges, chief among them ending the pandemic and ensuring a safe and rapid economic recovery.”

Former FCC Commissioner Micheal O’Rielly: “An absolutely awful development. Pray for the health and safety of all those who work in the U.S. Capitol, many of whom I know and those I haven’t met yet.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: “We must be governed by the rule of law, not the rule of the mob. Law and order must be restored and democracy must be respected.”

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel: “I worked for many years in the Capitol. Such a sad day. Praying for everyone’s safety.”

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr: “Mob violence is never, ever acceptable. It is unconscionable and should be uniformly condemned.”

Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt: “People ask me as former FCC chair about my reaction to this fact: ‘Twitter took down the tweet and banned the president for at least twelve hours for inciting violence; Facebook and Instagram followed suit.’ … 

Hundt went on to tweet: “Even w/o regulatory authority, nothing stops the FCC Chair from asking the media to help protect, defend the Constitution when, among other things, the Capitol is under attack…or threatened by attack. This role is integral to the concept of an independent commission (which is what the FCC is) that should be assuring that the truth shall make us free…or in less elevated terms, that the American people should know what is going on and that the media should not be used to incite an armed insurrection. This role is hard to perform when the president is instigating the mob attack — hard meaning it takes clarity of thinking and courage. It isn’t hard in the way it was hard for the police to face an armed mob of maybe 15,000 people.”

“And the other reaction is this: it’s high time for the FCC, Congress, and the DOD officials, especially those who have supported or been appointed by this president, to explain that the media may not offer a platform for the incitement of armed insurrection. There is a difference between reporting the news and creating a means for anyone, including the president or the former mayor of New York (who called for “trial by combat”!), to send a message to a goon gang that in no unclear terms led to the assault on the Capitol — and democracy.”

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