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Capitol assault 'damaged' US standing in the world, say lawmakers

Capitol assault 'damaged' US standing in the world, say lawmakers
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The assault on the Capitol Wednesday by a rioting pro-Trump mob has “scarred” the U.S. reputation and “damaged our standing in the world,” top House lawmakers with oversight of foreign affairs said. 

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksAsian American lawmakers say State's 'assignment restrictions' discriminate Colombia's protests are threat, test for US Pressure increases for US to send vaccines to Latin America MORE (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulAsian American lawmakers say State's 'assignment restrictions' discriminate Senate Intelligence panel working on legislation around mandatory cyber breach notification McCarthy unveils House GOP task forces, chairs MORE (R-Texas) issued a joint statement Wednesday evening warning that the unprecedented violence at the Capitol emboldened by President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote READ: Liz Cheney's speech on the House floor Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' MORE was a threat to democracies worldwide. 

"America has always been a beacon of freedom to the world; proof that free and fair elections are achievable, and that democracy works. But what happened at the Capitol today has scarred our reputation and has damaged our standing in the world,” the lawmakers said.

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"Today’s violence  an inevitable result when leaders in positions of power misled the public will certainly empower dictators and damage struggling democracies,” they continued, without explicitly calling out the president.

The lawmakers continued that the people perpetrating the “violent insurrection of the Capitol” should be arrested and prosecuted. 

“We must send a message to the world that this is not acceptable, and that America continues to stand for the rule of law,” they said. 

"It is time to make the peaceful transition of power. The world is watching."

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDemocrats reintroduce legislation to ban 'ghost guns' Juan Williams: A breakthrough on immigration? Biden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 MORE (D-N.J.), the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a lengthy statement Wednesday evening condemning Trump for instigating the violence on the Capitol and said the scenes of violence that played out are a boon to “autocrats” and America’s adversaries. 

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“Today, I shed a tear for our country, which for centuries has inspired the world through its commitment to democracy and the rule of law. From Moscow to Beijing and beyond, autocrats are likely smiling as they witness America in disarray, at war with itself, and no longer a credible messenger for the democratic values that have always defined our great Republic,” he said in a statement. 

The statements from the top lawmakers came hours after the Capitol building was secured from a violent breach by pro-Trump supporters who brandishing anti-Semitic symbols and Confederate flags ran roughshod through the halls of Congress, destroying property and ransacking the chambers of lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Job openings jump to record high of 8.1 million | Wyden opposes gas tax hike | Airlines feel fuel crunch Pelosi: House Democrats want to make child tax credit expansion permanent Pelosi announces change to House floor mask rules MORE (D-Calif.).

A woman was shot and killed during the insurrection, which interrupted Congress's certification of the Electoral College vote affirming President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' US officials testify on domestic terrorism in wake of Capitol attack MORE's win. At least 52 arrests were made, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

World leaders issued statements of shock and sadness at the drama unfolding in Washington, D.C., and called for democracy to be upheld. 

Trump encouraged his supporters at a rally earlier Wednesday to walk to the Capitol and “show strength, and you have to be strong.”

The rally followed weeks of the president stoking tensions undermining the lawful results of the U.S. election, claiming without evidence that it was “stolen.”

The Electoral College certification carried out by lawmakers was delayed for most of Wednesday before resuming that evening, with Biden certified as president-elect early Thursday morning. 

Trump issued a statement early Thursday morning through the Twitter account of his press secretary Dan Scavino saying that there would be an “orderly transition” for Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.