Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos
On January 6, in the hours just before insurgents overran the Capitol, Republican Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) stood on the "Stop the Steal" stage and delivered a message designed to set the stakes for the already riled-up crowd.
"I've got a message that I need you to take to your heart and take back home and along the way, stop at the Capitol," said Brooks. "Today, Republican senators and congressmen will either vote to turn America into a godless, amoral, dictatorial, oppressed and socialist nation on the decline, or they will join us and they will fight and vote against voter fraud and election theft and vote for keeping America great." And in case that invitation to "stop at the Capitol" was too subtle, Brooks made his intentions absolutely clear.
"Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass," said Brooks. "Our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes, and sometimes their lives to give us, their descendants, an America that is the greatest nation in world history. So I have a question for you. Are you willing to do the same?" Brooks then repeatedly shouted at the crowd, "Will you fight for America?" before saying, "We, American patriots are going to come right at them!"
In March, Brooks kicked off his campaign for senator in Alabama, with the goal of filling the seat left by retiring Senator Richard Shelby. As CNN noted at the time, Brooks has placed his support for the Big Lie and that speech on January 6 right at the center of his campaign. Brooks is literally running on his support for the insurgency.
But when it comes to facing a court case based on charges of incitement, Brooks is running away.
As Axios reported on March 5, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) filed suit in U.S. District Court citing both Brooks and Donald Trump as being "responsible for the injury and destruction" of the Jan. 6 attack. That lawsuit states that the deadly attack on the Capitol, including the attempt to kidnap and execute members of Congress, came "As a direct and foreseeable consequence of the Defendants' false and incendiary allegations of fraud and theft, and in direct response to the Defendants' express calls for violence at the rally."
More than a month later, Swalwell says Brooks is continuing to dodge process servers and refusing to be served with the lawsuit. Others charged in the suit, including Trump, have waived service—meaning that the case can proceed to court—but Brooks remains as a lone holdout. He has neither waived service, nor acknowledged the paperwork that has been delivered to his office.
As Forbes reported earlier this week, Brooks is far from apologetic about his speech on January 6. In fact, Brooks is using segments of that speech, and attempts by Democrats to censure him for his call to violence, as cornerstones of his campaign ads.
On January 6, Brooks put out a brief statement that he "always condemns violence." However, he followed this almost immediately with a tweet insisting that the cause of violence was not the people he had just told to "kick ass" and "come right at them" in an effort to save the nation. Instead, wrote Brooks, the assault was conducted by "fascist ANTIFA"—a term that may set the record for cognitive dissonance.
Brooks has continued to repeat claims that antifa was behind the attack. However, in his campaign he has also highlighted scenes of the January 6 rally and stated that on that day, "I did my duty for my country." The level of ridiculous self-contradictory elements in Brooks' statements may seem obvious, but then he is running as the most MAGA of a number of MAGA candidates vying for Shelby's spot. Being ridiculous is part of the job description.
As Swalwell's attorney noted, "It seems clear that Brooks is choosing to make a political stunt out of a part of the process that essentially is a formality, which is unfortunate." But Mo Brooks doing something just because it would draw more attention to his campaign shouldn't be a surprise. Neither should his unwillingness to go to court and discuss how he deliberately stirred up a crowd and told them to put their lives on the line, go to the Capitol, and prevent America from becoming a "godless, amoral, dictatorial, oppressed and socialist nation."
Brooks previously ran for the Senate in 2017 in the hopes of capturing the seat that once belonged to Jeff Sessions. He enjoyed the support of Trump along with Fox News personalities Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity. He came in third in the Republican primary.
Mo Brooks Calls for Blood at Trump Rally www.youtube.com
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Let's hope this is one of the hot trends of May 2021—the media is noticing how congressional Republicans are promoting funding from the American Rescue Plan despite having voted against the law. The Associated Press is on the story, with a bluntly accurate headline: "Republicans promote pandemic relief they voted against."
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) voted against the COVID-19 relief package, the AP reports, then described funding her district got from the law as one of her "achievements," and touted "bringing federal funding to the district and back into the pockets of taxpayers."
Malliotakis is one of a long list of Republicans who've gone from voting no to making absolutely sure their constituents knew that federal money was flowing into their districts—usually highlighting either the Restaurant Revitalization Fund or money for community health centers.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), poised to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as the third-ranking House Republican, has been especially brazen, going from slamming the American Rescue Plan as "Pelosi's partisan COVID-19 package" to bragging about Head Start funding as well as the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) recently shredded Republican hypocrisy on this issue, noting how "All of a sudden they are deficit hawks when they were giving away money to wealthy people under President Trump," but after yelling about the deficit when it was time to pass the stimulus package, "A number of them are trying to take credit for something they didn't vote for—that's not unusual. Vote no, take the dough—that's what the Republicans do."
The Democratic National Committee is also focusing on this issue, the AP reports, with a digital advertising campaign on local news websites in Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Hampshire, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, while putting up billboards in 20 states.
Will any of it stick? That depends in part on the media. The American Rescue Plan continues to be very popular, so it makes sense that Republicans are trying to associate themselves with it despite their opposition. Any time a Republican says anything good about the effects of the law, any media coverage of it needs to note the fact that if it had been up to that Republican, the law would not have passed.
Just quoting a Republican saying, for instance, they're "Happy to announce" federal money going to community health centers in their district—as Rep. Madison Cawthorn did (R-NC) —without correcting the false impression that they supported that funding coming to the district is aiding and abetting them in that falsehood.
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