I sent the following note to our employees following today’s events in Washington, D.C.:

Today's acts of violence and invasion of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. to overturn the legitimate election of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States should be condemned by every American. Our democratic process mandates a peaceful transition of power and it must be respected as it has been for 230 years.

This is a time for all people of good will, but especially every CEO, to stand up and say to their colleagues and communities that this is an egregious breach of the public order, an attack on the beating heart of our democracy.

On Monday, I joined nearly 200 business leaders in signing a letter urging Congress to accept the will of the people and certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden. I was also on a call with 30 CEOs on Tuesday and each business leader pledged to shift political contributions away from those legislators voting to overrule the voice of voters, the states and the courts. The urgent needs of the American people require us to get back to the business of the country.

Today, the country must come first. CEOs, along with all in positions of leadership, must be the bulwark of trust at the present moment. Therefore, they have the responsibility to speak up for the common good, to reject the violence and hate peddled by those seeking to advance their own self-interest. We have huge issues before us, including a raging pandemic that has claimed more than 350,000 American lives, the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and the dismantling of systemic racism.

This is not just a moment in time for business leaders. The cultural fissures that erupted today will continue to divide this nation. After January 20, the hard work begins. Business has a vital role in bringing this country together and solving collective problems. We need to heal and we have a long way to go. Our democracy will endure. We all are contributors, not spectators, in that process.


Richard Edelman is CEO.