The way Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) sees it, he spent two months tirelessly working on a political message that would sow distrust over the nation’s presidential election — and then pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol and ruined all his hard work.
Brooks says he will “never apologize” for delivering a speech at President Donald Trump’s rally on the National Mall that turned into a fatal attack on the Capitol, even though Brooks now faces censure in the House for inciting violence that day.
The Alabama congressman had been at the forefront of the postelection push among Trump’s allies to delegitimize the election results. In December, he organized a meeting with Trump and the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to plan ways to challenge election results from Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada — all states that Democrat Joe Biden won.
“As one of America’s most effective conservative leaders, I defend my honor and reputation against scurrilous, George Orwellian, 1984, Socialist Democrats Politics of Personal Destruction,” Brooks wrote in a long-winded statement Tuesday, in which he both defended his work pushing baseless conspiracies about voter fraud and chastised those who believed in those conspiracies theories for attempting to seize the U.S. Capitol.
The rioters “destroyed two months of debate and work,” Brooks wrote of his efforts toward discrediting Biden’s victory and attempting to overturn election results.
Brook’s statement perfectly captures Republican lawmakers’ refusal to accept responsibility for the attempted insurrection last Wednesday. For months, top Republican lawmakers have declined to publicly accept Biden’s presidential win and have instead elevated debunked claims of election fraud.
After the attack on the Capitol, several Republican lawmakers who had spent weeks questioning the legitimacy of the election said their intention was never to actually overturn the results but only spark debate about the security of elections. Many of these same Republican lawmakers had previously resisted funding election security efforts and blocked legislation requiring voting machines to have backup paper ballots.
Trump and his allies filed more than 50 lawsuits trying to overturn election results in a handful of states. Nearly all of the lawsuits were either dismissed or dropped for a lack of evidence or merit. There has been no evidence of widespread fraud in the November presidential election.
Two Democrats, Reps. Tom Malinowski of New Jersey and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, have brought forward a censure resolution against Brooks, citing excerpts of his speech to Trump rally-goers.
“Representative Mo Brooks addressed a rally in Washington, DC, attended by numerous members of known extremist and anti-government groups, including the Proud Boys, QAnon, Boogaloo Boys, and Oathkeepers, who would shortly thereafter march to seize the United States Capitol,” the resolution states.
At the rally, Brooks, who says he was asked to speak at the last minute and decided to deliver an old political stump speech, told the crowd: ’’Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”
The violent insurrection at the Capitol left five people dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer. Republican lawmakers still overwhelmingly voted to block the certification of election results after the violence abated and they were allowed back into the Capitol.
Brooks’ statement Tuesday went on to justify his rally speech and his “work” delegitimizing the election results with an attestation to his own character as a “square” — and therefore, by his logic, incapable of inspiring a violent uprising.
“I have never smoked tobacco. I don’t consume alcohol. I have never taken illegal drugs. I have never been accused or convicted of any felonies or misdemeanors. In half a century of driving, I have never had a DUI, a reckless driving ticket or even a speeding ticket. I did once misjudge a traffic light and deservedly got a ticket, but that is it. I have never had a vehicle wreck in which anyone claimed I was at fault.”
Interestingly, Brooks, who endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for president in 2016, was once very critical of Trump, calling him a serial adulterer and “notorious flip-flopper.” Four year later, he faces being publicly reprimanded for his defense of Trump’s presidency.
Brooks ended his statement by quoting from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” in which King writes, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
The injustice, according to Brooks, is the censure resolution he’s facing after encouraging Trump supporters to fight against the results of a fair election.