UPDATE 1-U.S. Chamber CEO says Trump undermined U.S. democratic institutions

13 Jan 2021 / 04:41 H.

    (Adds quotes, details on cutting off funds to some lawmakers)

    By David Lawder

    WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue issued a stinging rebuke to President Donald Trump on Tuesday, calling Trump's actions last week in connection with pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol "absolutely unacceptable and completely inexcusable."

    Donohue told a news conference that Trump "undermined our democratic institutions and ideals" and it was up to Vice President Mike Pence, the Cabinet and Congress to decide whether to try to oust Trump early through the Constitution's 25th Amendment or impeachment proceedings.

    "We trust them to use those tools judiciously, if needed, to ensure our nation's well-being and security," Donohue said, calling on elected officials across the country to encourage a peaceful transition of power and promote calm.

    The statement was unusually strong for the biggest and most influential U.S. business lobby group, which has supported many of Trump's policy efforts over the past four years, including tax cuts passed in 2017, reduced regulations, energy initiatives, and unprecedented coronavirus relief to businesses.

    Some members of Congress, through their actions last week, "will have forfeited the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Period. Full stop," said Neil Bradley, the business lobby group's chief policy officer.

    Bradley declined to name specific lawmakers when asked if Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas would be among those losing Chamber support because they objected to certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

    He said that the group will take into account lawmakers' actions last week and watch "the totality of their efforts on supporting government" in coming days.

    Asked whether he considered last week's assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob seeking to stop the election of Biden as an attempted coup, Donohue said: "I would say there were some efforts to achieve other objectives, I'm not sure it was a full coup" attempt. "But we didn't like them and we have responded to them, as have all Americans." (Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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