A handful of US congressional Republicans turned on President Donald Trump on Wednesday, after a crowd of his supporters stormed the Capitol building in a bid to help him overturn his defeat in the November election.
"There is no question that the president formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame," House of Representatives Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney tweeted.
The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney described the assault as an attempt to prevent Congress from carrying out its constitutional duty to review the results of the 2020 election.
Representative Mike Gallagher, a Republican who supports Trump, had a more colorful description of the assault. "We are witnessing absolute banana republic crap in the United States Capitol right now. @realDonaldTrump, you need to call this off," he posted on Twitter as demonstrators broke windows to gain entry to the US Capitol.
Representative James French Hill, who has voted with Trump more than 95% of the time, told CNBC: "The president bears part of the responsibility for the heated rhetoric."
Trump supporters burst into the halls of Congress as Trump's Republican allies aired their objections to the November 3 presidential election won by President-elect Joe Biden.
Biden, who takes office on January 20, called it "an insurrection" for demonstrators to storm the Capitol, smash windows, occupy offices, invade the halls of Congress and threaten the safety of duly elected officials.
"I could not agree more with President-elect Biden's statement to the nation," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally, said in a statement on Twitter that did not mention Trump.
Without naming Trump, Republican former President George W Bush said in a statement: "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."
Senator Mitt Romney, a frequent Trump critic, pointed the finger directly.
"What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States," said Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. "Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy."