Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) is facing criticism over a statement he made while an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump was threatening to detonate an explosive device at the United States Capitol on Thursday.
Brooks’s statement, which he issued while Capitol Police attempted to negotiate with the man making the threats (later identified as Floyd Ray Roseberry, a resident of North Carolina), expressed that he and his staff were safe, and that he hoped for a peaceful resolution to the situation. However, Brooks then turned his attention toward blaming leftist ideas for the event that was occurring in real time, as Roseberry vociferously spouted far right talking points, including false conspiracy theories that have been pushed by Trump and his supporters.
“Sadly, violence and threats of violence targeting America’s political institutions are far too common. Although this terrorist’s motivation is not yet publicly known, and generally speaking, I understand citizenry anger directed at dictatorial Socialism and its threat to liberty, freedom and the very fabric of American society,” Brooks wrote in his statement.
Brooks also used the bomb threat as an opportunity to motivate Republican voters to support GOP candidates in upcoming electoral contests.
“The way to stop Socialism’s march is for patriotic Americans to fight back in the 2022 and 2024 elections,” Brooks said, adding that in his opinion, “America’s future is at risk.”
My statement on the Capitol bomb threat: pic.twitter.com/yCuTNTbJyP
— Mo Brooks (@RepMoBrooks) August 19, 2021
Many took issue with Brooks’s assertions and seemingly sympathetic attitudes toward a man who was threatening to explode part of the Capitol building’s complex.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California), a member of Congress who is suing Brooks for his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, suggested Brooks’s words showed his true colors on the issue of violence in the name of conservative political ideology.
“What bothers so many of my @HouseDemocrats’ colleagues about this tweet is that we know if @RepMoBrooks wasn’t in Congress on January 6 he would have been on the other side of the chamber with the violent mob,” Swalwell wrote on Twitter.
“I know it seems like hyperbole when we say that Republicans have become enemies of democracy, but here is a mainstream Republican TAKING THE SIDE OF THE BOMBER,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) also opined.
Some anti-Trump Republicans spoke out against Brooks, too, including Olivia Troye, who served as a national security adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence.
“It is narratives like the statement on the Capitol Hill bomb threat issued by Mo Brooks, a sitting member of Congress, that continue to embolden the grievances & division across our country,” Troye tweeted. “They motivate potential bad actors & continue to erode the fibers of our democracy.”
The Alabama Democratic Party also responded to Brooks’s words, noting that on January 6, hours before Trump loyalists attacked the Capitol seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, the congressman told those individuals to “kick ass and take names.”
On Thursday, “Brooks assumed the person threatening the US Capitol with a bomb was on his side saying he ‘understand(s)’ the anger,” the Alabama Democratic Party wrote on its Twitter account.
The anger that inspired Roseberry to make his bomb threat in the first place appears to have been driven in part by conspiracy theories and ideas about Democrats that have no basis in truth. Roseberry, for instance, expressed a belief in false claims that Trump could be reinstated as president, and he stated a desire for Democrats to remove themselves from office because “people don’t want you there,” suggesting that he buys into the errant belief, which has been espoused by Brooks himself, that Democrats stole their way into winning the presidency and Congress.