World Leaders React to Capitol Riots

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Caroline Owen

In the wake of the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, several world leaders have spoken out to express sorrow and disbelief at the events, condemn the actions of the mob and former President Trump, and call into question the security and sanctity of the American democratic system. Out of the dozens of presidents, prime ministers, and Heads-of-State around the world who released public statements, the following four are arguably the most influential in their response to the Capitol storming as they had high-profile relationships with Trump during his presidency.

 

Canada

 

In an official video statement released on January 8th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canadians “witnessed an assault on Democracy by violent rioters [which was] incited by the current President and other politicians.” Trudeau stated that “the choices we make as leaders, as politicians, have consequences,” referring to Trump, and suggested that the attack will have far-reaching effects, as his country is “not immune” to the effects of the violence. He insinuated that the former President’s actions could “encourage [Canadians] to do some things, discourage them from doing others.” Trudeau added that while Canada was deeply disappointed in the attack on the Capitol, it is re-committing to diplomatic politeness and to “leading with respect and engaging substantially with different points of view” in the future.

 

India

 

In a tweet from January 7th, Prime Minister Narenda Modi said he was “distressed” to see the “riots and violence” in Washington and stated that the utmost priorities are securing a peaceful transfer of power and ensuring that democracy would be preserved in the United States. Modi has not commented on whether India recognizes the attack as an act of political insurrection or a direct result of the president’s actions; however, several other high-ranking Indian politicians have voiced similar concerns. Reacting to a video in which an Indian flag is shown flying alongside MAGA/Trump flags at the Capitol, leader of the regional Shiv Sena party Priyanka Chaturvedi said in a tweet that “whoever is waving this Indian flag should feel ashamed” and said that using the Tricolor in “such violent and criminal acts” in a foreign nation is treacherous. 

 

United Kingdom

 

In a tweet from January 7th, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the events at the capitol “disgraceful scenes” and, echoing the concerns of Trudeau and Modi, stated that it is “vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.” He did not mention Trump by name in that tweet nor place responsibility for the events of January 6th on the former President; however, the next day, Johnson delivered a speech in which he directly blamed the former President for this role in instigating the violent attack. “He encouraged people to storm the Capitol,” Johnson said in a televised press conference, stating that “the president has consistently cast doubt on the outcome of a free and fair election” which he considered “completely wrong.” Johnson continued on to state that he “reservedly condemns people who behave in the disgraceful way that they behaved at the Capitol” and said that he is “very pleased that the president-elect is being duly confirmed and that democracy prevailed.”

 

Australia

 

In a public statement, Michael MacCormack, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, chastised Facebook and Twitter’s censorship of Trump, stating that the permaban was unnecessary and posed a threat to American freedom of speech. He also equated the Capitol attack to the BLM protests in June, expressing his sorrow at the deaths that occurred at both events and stating that “all lives matter…people shouldn’t have to go to a protest and lose their life.” Morrison’s refusal to condemn Trump’s action sparked outrage in Australia, with several Indigenous/Aboriginal rights’ groups stating that this “undermining” of the Black Lives Matter movement and hesitancy towards denouncing white supremacy endanger Black and Inidgenous Australians. Additionally, Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted on January 6th that Australians “condemn these acts of violence” and “very distressing scenes” at the Capitol as well as “look forward to a peaceful transfer of Government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition.”