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CRE Roundly Condemns U.S. Capitol Insurrection

The commercial real estate industry has strongly condemned the insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, when a pro-Trump mob entered the building, damaged it and forced members of Congress to flee. Four people and one police officer have died as a result.

A scene outside the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021

"The scenes we are watching unfold as a nation are shocking and leave us in disbelief," National Association of Realtors President Charlie Oppler said in a statement Wednesday. "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 mob broke through the police line and invaded the Capitol shortly after Congress started certifying Joe Biden's electoral victory. Hours after the historic building had been cleared, the legislators resumed and ratified Biden's victory in the early hours of Thursday morning.

“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 tweet. "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.”

“This afternoon’s abhorrent assault on the United States Capitol and on the underpinning institutions of our democracy must come to an end," National Multifamily Housing Council President Doug Biddy said in a statement issued during the mob's occupation of the Capitol. "NMHC calls on lawmakers to live up to their oaths and certify the results of the 2020 election as soon as they can safely do so." 

“Our retailers, the millions of associates they employ and the communities they serve across the country want and need our elected officials to focus on the priorities that ensure faith in our government through stability," National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

"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,” Shay said.

"Working American families depend on a productive government to facilitate their livelihoods — especially in this time of unprecedented crisis and challenge — and the willful disruption of our democratic transition is an unacceptable act of harm that is felt not just in Washington, but in every corner of the country," U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement.

The president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, Sean McGarvey, not only condemned the insurrection on Wednesday, he called on President Donald Trump to resign.

"Today’s despicable events are unprecedented, and, as we have all seen, are extremely dangerous," McGarvey said in a statement. "North America’s Building Trades Unions call on President Trump to immediately step down and transfer power per the Constitution and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947. If he refuses, the Cabinet must immediately invoke the 25th amendment to remove the President." 

Private real estate executives spoke out and took other action as well. 

In New York, Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman, who supported Trump's campaign in 2020 by donating $3.7M, condemned the insurrection as well, and blamed the president for it, The Real Deal reports.

"The insurrection that followed the President’s remarks is appalling and an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as Americans,” he said in a statement. “I am shocked and horrified by this mob’s attempt to undermine our Constitution. As I said in November, the outcome of the election is very clear and there must be a peaceful transition of power.”

In Chicago, @properties, a residential and commercial real estate brokerage, fired one of its brokers, Libby Andrews, on Thursday over her participation in the event.

"@properties has received a tremendous amount of outreach today making us aware of the actions of one of our agents, who acknowledged on social media that she 'stormed the Capitol,' yesterday in Washington, DC," the company said in an email to Bisnow. "@properties unequivocally condemns these actions, and the company has severed ties with this agent."

Andrews denied being part of the insurrection, telling a Chicago radio station that she was in Washington to "support my president" and didn't know anyone had stormed the Capitol until she saw it on TV later.

"In provoking violence, President Trump is not just a terrible representative of our country and the Republican Party," Gray Real Estate Advisors principal Ann Gray told Bisnow. "He is a discredit to the real estate industry — an industry that is poised to help alleviate the housing crisis, reduce carbon emissions and push back against social inequities. 

"I work with many fine ethical professionals," South Pasadena, California-based Gray said. "In 2021, I call upon major investors and developers to publicly defund the politicians that contested this fair election or failed to denounce the insurrection. Let's build back better the reputation of our industry."