Czech leaders condemn Trump mob Washington rampage

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, Washington, photo: ČTK/AP/Jose Luis Magana

Top officials in Prague have condemned the storming of the Capitol building in Washington by supporters of President Trump. The Czech prime minister described the incident as an unprecedented attack on democracy, while the president said election results could not be overturned by force.

Leaders around the world have condemned an unparalleled incident in which a mob of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the US Congress on Wednesday. Four were left dead in the rampage, which has sparked strong calls for Mr. Trump to be removed, just weeks before his term ends.

Donald Trump,  photo: ČTK/AP/Jacquelyn Martin

Here in the Czech Republic the prime minister, Andrej Babiš, has described the events in Washington as “an unprecedented attack on democracy”.

Tweeting on Thursday morning, Mr. Babiš said that the handover of power between presidents should always be peaceful, adding that he hoped incidents of this type did not continue.

The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, said the robbery and violence at the US Senate were not a good example for countries where democracy had not been fully established.

The foreign policy chief also questioned where the police and Senate security had been when the attack took place.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier,  Jan. 6,  2021,  Capitol,  Washington,  photo: ČTK/AP/Julio Cortez

The Czech ambassador to Washington, Hynek Kmoníček, offered his take on what had led to such chaotic and violent scenes in an interview for Czech Radio from the US capital.

“It’s an illustration of the divided nature of US society. It demonstrates that it’s a population that is going through major demographic changes which a not insubstantial section of society is finding it very difficult to accept.

"The result is a search for a new social contract that would define for Americans who is an American.”

Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol,  Jan. 6,  2021,  photo: ČTK/AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Ambassador Kmoníček echoed the Czech PM’s words in saying that he hoped the violence was a one-off.

“It’s the wish of everyone that this is an isolated matter which after a second critical date – the inauguration of Joe Biden as US president on 20 January – will not become a new standard but an exceptional incident.

"On the other hand, Donald Trump in opposition will be utterly different than in the history of US presidents.

"A president who is unsuccessful in elections goes away and founds a presidential library. Well, imagine Donald Trump voluntarily going away and starting a library.”

Joe Biden,  photo: ČTK/AP/Susan Walsh

Mr. Kmoníček’s old boss, President Miloš Zeman, issued a short statement via his spokesperson on Thursday: “Defeat must be borne with dignity and no attempt should be made to overturn a result through violence.”

Mr. Zeman was one of the few European leaders to support Mr. Trump when he first ran for office in 2016.

Both he and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš have at different times been referred to as the “Czech Donald Trump”.

Mr. Babiš even took inspiration from the US leader with a red, MAGA-style hat reading Strong Czechia. On Thursday he ceased to use a photo of himself wearing one on his social media profiles.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier,  Jan. 6,  2021,  Capitol,  Washington,  photo: ČTK/AP/John Minchillo