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Former Presidents Bush And Clinton Blame 'Poison Politics' For 'Sickening' Violence

Former President George W. Bush said he was sickened and heartbroken at the "mayhem" transpiring at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Bush is seen here in July 2020 at the funeral of Rep. John Lewis.
Former President George W. Bush said he was sickened and heartbroken at the "mayhem" transpiring at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Bush is seen here in July 2020 at the funeral of Rep. John Lewis.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

Former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton condemned the violence in the nation's capital on Wednesday — and the president who fueled it.

Bush, the only living former Republican president, said he was "appalled" by the actions of some political leaders since the election and called the "mayhem" at the U.S. Capitol "a sickening and heartbreaking sight."

"This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic," the former president wrote in a statement released Wednesday evening. "I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement."

Without mentioning President Trump or other leaders by name, Bush's statement rebuked Trump's behavior since losing the November election and his incitement of the violence currently gripping the American capital.

"Insurrection could do grave damage to our Nation and reputation," Bush continued. "In the United States of America, it is the fundamental responsibility of every patriotic citizen to support the rule of law. To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment."

Clinton, a Democrat, was much more direct in assigning blame to Trump.

"Today we faced an unprecedented assault on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our country," he said in a statement.

"The assault was fueled by more than four years of poison politics spreading deliberate misinformation, sowing distrust in our system, and pitting Americans against one another," Clinton wrote. "The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost."

The full text of the statement from Bush:

Laura and I are watching the scenes of mayhem unfolding at the seat of our Nation's government in disbelief and dismay. It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight. This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement. The violent assault on the Capitol – and disruption of a Constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress – was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes. Insurrection could do grave damage to our Nation and reputation. In the United States of America, it is the fundamental responsibility of every patriotic citizen to support the rule of law. To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment. Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety. May God continue to bless the United States of America.

And the full statement from Clinton:

Today we faced an unprecedented assault on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our country.

The assault was fueled by more than four years of poison politics spreading deliberate misinformation, sowing distrust in our system, and pitting Americans against one another. The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost.

The election was free, the count was fair, the result is final. We must complete the peaceful transfer of power our Constitution mandates.

I have always believed that America is made up of good, decent people. I still do. If that's who we really are, we must reject today's violence, turn the page, and move forward together—honoring our Constitution, remaining committed to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

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