MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Two House Democrats have proposed that Congress censure U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, arguing that his remarks at a rally of President Donald Trump’s supporters incited the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol last week.
Brooks said Tuesday that his critics are misrepresenting his remarks, which were intended as a pep talk for the next election cycle. He added that “I will never apologize for fighting to win our causes at the ballot box.”
Brooks has come under fire for comments at the rally in which he told the crowd that he wanted them to take a message back home and “along the way stop at the Capitol.” “Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” Brooks said at the Save America rally on Wednesday that preceded the riot at the U.S. Capitol. He was wearing a hat that said, “Fire Pelosi.”
Democratic Representatives Tom Malinowski of New Jersey and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida on Monday introduced the resolution for censure, which is a public rebuke by Congress.
“Not only did Congressman Brooks’ fuel an insurrection against the body he serves in, his words helped spark chaos, destruction, injuries and death. Censure seems too trifling a punishment in this horrific case, but it’s the minimal level of accountability Congressman Brooks should face from the same Congress he goaded rioters to assault,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.
The rally brought thousands to Washington as Trump continued to dispute his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. The demonstrations turned violent as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol. At least five people died, including a Capitol Police officer.
Brooks’ office issued a lengthy statement saying his rally remarks were meant to inspire the crowd to fight in the 2022 and 2024 elections.
“I was not encouraging anyone to engage in violence. I was encouraging people to begin a 2022 and 2024 election fight,” Brooks wrote. “No one at the rally interpreted my remarks to be anything other than what they were: A pep talk after the derriere kicking conservatives suffered in the dismal 2020 elections,” Brooks said.
Brooks accused the resolution sponsors and news outlets of ignoring other parts of his speech, including where he said the 2020 election was over, but the 2022 and 2024 elections were coming.
In his fiery, 10-minute speech, Brooks condemned socialists and “weak-knees Republicans” and asked the crowd, “will you fight for America?”
State Rep. Chris England, the chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, in a series of tweets, said Brooks played a role in inciting the violence and had for weeks “been lying to the public and whipping people into a frenzy that he and crew were going to ‘stop the steal’ Wednesday.”
“So, @RepMoBrooks, what did you think was going to happen after you spent weeks lying to people to get them riled up and then ask them are they willing to sacrifice their blood, sweat, tears, livelihoods and even their lives? This is your failed coup,” England tweeted.
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