On Saturday evening, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE showed up in a cornfield outside Cullman, Ala., to support Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksWatchdog group seeks ethics probe over McCarthy's Jan. 6 comments Jan. 6 panel seeks records of those involved in 'Stop the Steal' rally Jan. 6 panel to ask for preservation of phone records of GOP lawmakers who participated in Trump rally: report MORE (R-Ala.) for Senate. The result was a disaster.
Both Trump and Brooks were booed by the MAGA crowd: Trump, for encouraging people to get vaccinated; Brooks, for daring to suggest it’s time to move on from 2020 and focus on 2022. Both were criticized for going ahead with the rally two days after the Cullman City Council had declared a local COVID emergency. And Trump angered many Alabama Republicans by interfering in a crowded, four-person, Republican primary to replace the retiring Republican Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE.
But that totally misses the point. The real issue about Mo Brooks is not: Should he be the next United States senator from Alabama? But, as members of the House of Representatives return to Washington this week: Why is he still even a member of Congress? The man has sided with a terrorist suspect against the United States.
On Aug. 19, Washington came under attack again when a North Carolina man claiming to have a bomb in his pickup truck parked across the street from the Capitol. Courageous and quick-thinking Capitol Hill police secured the area and talked the suspect into surrendering. Once all clear, everybody in authority rushed to condemn the incident. Everybody, that is, except Mo Brooks.
Brooks actually issued a statement which, while not actually praising the man, endorsed his use of violence to make a political statement. After initially saying he was praying for the safety of first responders, Brooks turned to the suspect himself. Whatever his motivation, Brooks declared, he understood “citizenry anger at dictatorial Socialism and its threat to liberty, freedom and the very fabric of American society.”
In other words, if you don’t like what the government’s doing, or if you still think Donald Trump won the last election, Brooks seemed to say, it’s OK to arm yourself with an automatic weapon or a bomb and storm the United States Capitol. That’s simply how Americans express their “citizenry anger.”
Holy Cow! As Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyCongress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B Senators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State Tell our troops: 'Your sacrifice wasn't in vain' MORE (D-Conn.) pointed out, given a choice between democracy and terrorism, here was a Republican congressman “taking the side of the bomber.” Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill Democratic leaders racing toward Monday infrastructure vote MORE (R-Ill.) called his comments “evil.” And Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) expressed what should be obvious to all: “It is astonishing that this needs to be said, but no one who serves in Congress should be expressing public sympathy with the views of a terrorist who threatened to blow up the U.S. Capitol.”
And, of course, this isn’t the first time that Brooks has been linked with violence at the Capitol. In a fiery speech at Trump’s rally on the morning of Jan. 6, Brooks told the crowd: “Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass” — and encouraged people to “stop at the Capitol” after the rally. Of course, thousands were able to oblige. And Brooks, along with Donald Trump and Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiThree Democrats call for investigation into Sidney Powell to move 'swiftly' Fox News bans Rudy Giuliani from appearing: report Alabama official dismisses Lindell claim that 100K votes were flipped from Trump to Biden: 'It's not possible' MORE, has been sued by Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellGreene heckles Democrats and they fire back on Capitol steps Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails MORE (D-Calif.) for inciting the riot that followed.
Again, the key question is: Why is this behavior acceptable? Why has Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill Watch live: McCarthy holds briefing with reporters MORE (R-Calif.) punished Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyHouse passes sweeping defense policy bill Trump rips Bush for backing Cheney Bush to hold fundraiser for Cheney MORE (R-Wyo.) for standing up for democracy, but taken no action against Mo Brooks for undermining it?
After all, this isn’t complicated. At the very least, members of Congress should be required to uphold their Oath of Office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Mo Brooks has failed that test. He should be expelled from Congress.
Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”