Not long before a violent crowd of rioters ransacked the U.S. Capitol — where at least five people were killed, including a Capitol police officer — Alabama U.S Rep. Mo Brooks told the angry crowd to head to the building.
“Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” Brooks told the crowd, as seen in widely circulated video coverage, at the Save America rally. He sported a hat that read, “Fire Pelosi.”
Now facing a Congressional censure, the Republican released a statement that said he won’t apologize.
“I will never apologize for fighting to win our causes at the ballot box,” he wrote in a lengthy statement outlining his comments at the rally and why he made them.
Gov. Kay Ivey, however, said Brooks "does not speak for all Republicans, much less all Alabamians," in a statement to WAAY 31.
“If the people of the 5th District believe their views are not being properly represented," she said, "then they need to express their disappointment directly to Congressman Brooks and, if necessary, hold him accountable at the ballot box."
Two Democratic Representatives, Tom Malinowski of New Jersey and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, this week introduced a resolution to censure Brooks for his comments.
President Donald Trump’s rally before Congress’ electoral college certification brought thousands of angry far-right voters to Washington, where speakers fueled their discontent with the lawmakers upholding democracy not far away.
A mob violently overtook the Capitol entrances that officers tried to guard — their attempts proving futile. Lawmakers and staff were evacuated, while rioters destroyed the building where the country’s democratic process is carried out.
"Not only did Congressman Brooks’ fuel an insurrection against the body he serves in,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement, “his words helped spark chaos, destruction, injuries and death.”
But Brooks refused to concede to critics who said he played a part in inciting violence in the nation’s Capitol and against Congress.
“I was not encouraging anyone to engage in violence,” 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."
During his rally speech, he demeaned Republicans who refused to stand up against election results as “weakling, cowering and wimpy.”
In the halls of the Capitol as chaos ensued, rioters searched for such lawmakers.
Leadership of the Alabama NAACP have demanded Brooks immediately resign from office.
“Many across the state and around the nation believe Mo Brooks played a huge role in inciting the riot at the Capitol,” Yolanda Caudle, Huntsville-Madison County NAACP president, said at a press conference Tuesday. “People have died because of his actions, he has blood on his hands."
A social media post claimed Brooks helped organize the Save America rally itself. Right-wing political organizer Ali Alexander posted a video prior to the riot in which he said Brooks and Arizona U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs were active participants in planning the rally.
In a statement to the Intercept, a spokesperson for Brooks denied his involvement, saying Brooks "has no recollection of ever communicating in any way with whoever Ali Alexander is. Congressman Brooks has not in any way, shape or form coordinated with Ali Alexander on the January 6th ‘Save America’ rally."