Mo Brooks defends comments at pro-Trump rally after ‘vicious and scurrilous’ attacks
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) issued a statement Tuesday defending his speech last week near the U.S. Capitol shortly before a mob stormed the building.
In the statement, Brooks attacked critics who have accused him of inciting the mob with his speech, in which he exhorted the crowd to “start taking down names and kicking ass.”
“[T]his entire smear campaign is about intimidating, censoring and suppressing the ability of American citizens to fight at the ballot box the efforts of Socialist Democrats to seize control of the United States of America,” Brooks said in the statement, invoking both Martin Luther King Jr. and the Gospel of John in his defense.
Brooks went on to claim that the rioters “did a great disservice to our cause and America” and “destroy[ing] two months of debate and work.” His statement was titled “Congressman Mo Brooks Rebuts Vicious & Scurrilous Fake News Media and Socialist Democrat Attacks.”
The Alabama congressman specifically blasted Rep. Tom Malinowski’s (D-N.J.) resolution of censure against him, claiming he could not have directly incited the breach of the Capitol because it did not immediately follow his speech.
He cited the fact that his speech also included the line “regardless of today’s outcome, the 2022 and the 2024 elections are right around the corner” to claim that “taking down names and kicking ass” was in reference to electoral politics.
“One or more of these groups brought pipe bombs, firearms, and other explosive devices with them,” Brooks added. “This level or preparation is evidence that violent actions were planned long before my remarks. Ergo, my remarks had nothing to do with the ensuing violent acts.”
Brooks was the first member of Congress to announce he would object to President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory in key states. The objection was later joined by the majority of House Republicans and a handful of Republican senators.
In addition to Malinowksi’s censure resolution, the liberal watchdog group Campaign for Accountability on Monday called for an incitement investigation into Brooks by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
“In light of these inflammatory calls for violent action, it is hardly surprising that listeners responded by descending on the U.S. Capitol and began to riot — using force to storm the building and prevent the Congress from carrying out its duty to count the Electoral College votes,” the letter stated.