The tech industry watched in horror as hordes of President Donald Trump’s supporters breached multiple barriers, clashed with law enforcement officers, and stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday while Congress was meeting to certify the results of the 2020 general election.
“Today is another 9/11. This time it is white terrorists attacking our country,” Villi Iltchev, a partner at Two Sigma Ventures, tweeted.
Last November, many venture capitalists hailing from the liberal bastion of Silicon Valley cheered on President-elect Joe Biden as he claimed victory. One, Roy Bahat, even moved temporarily to his wife’s home state of Wisconsin during the election to help the Democrats get out the vote in that battleground state.
Many hoped to move on from the political drama of 2020 and have been eager for a return to normalcy after Biden takes office.
But investors were shocked and worried as protesters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. They took to Twitter to express their fears, anger, and condemnation.
Rick Klau, who recently left GV, said he was “terrified” for the safety of elected officials and their staff, as well as law enforcement. “We have to assume that the traitors who’ve breached the Capitol are armed, and this is going to get much, much worse,” Klau tweeted.
He and others called on the president to bring in the National Guard to temper the madness.
“absolutely batsh*t insane, even a year ago something this extreme would not have been possible,” tweeted Mike Solana, a partner at Founders Fund. “we have completely normalized activist political violence. call in the national guard, disperse the mob, arrest the leaders.”
In fact, the National Guard has been deployed. Additionally, the governor of Virginia said in a tweet that he is sending in state troopers.
Investors like Cowboy Ventures founder Aileen Lee did not mince words, referring to the Trump supporters who entered the Madison and Cannon buildings as “domestic terrorists.”
“What’s happening right now at the US capitol is terrifying,” Lee tweeted. “Grateful for and praying for the safety of all those trying to save our democracy from these domestic terrorists.”
“They’re not stupid. They’re traitors. And terrorists. Call them what they are,” said Lux Capital partner Bilal Zuberi, in a reply to a tweet calling them “stupid” for carrying Confederate flags.
Billionaire startup investor Chris Sacca tied the unfolding spectacle back to the tech world, accusing social media executives like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Marc Zuckerberg for failing to clamp down on speech inciting political violence.
“You’ve got blood on your hands, @jack and Zuck. For four years you’ve rationalized this terror. Inciting violent treason is not a free speech exercise,” he said. “If you work at those companies, it’s on you too. Shut it down.”
Other tech investors including Benedict Evans and Jason Calacanis also called on Dorsey to lock Trump’s Twitter account.
“Given @realDonaldTrump is now inciting violence, and this Twitter account is the main tool, I think @jack and the @TwitterSafety team should consider a 72-hour lock on his account. Don’t turn it off, just no more posting privileges,” Calacanis, an angel investor, tweeted.
The crowds of protesters were mostly white, which some investors pointed out on Twitter, arguing that the rioters benefit from a double standard that privileges white people.
“If anyone is confused on what white privilege and racism looks like … look no further than the white Trump supporters climbing on the capital right now,” Barry Givens, a general partner at Collab Capital, tweeted.
“I gotta say, imagine if these people storming the Capitol, tearing through security fencing were … not white,” Sarah Guo, a general partner at Greylock, said on Twitter.