Mo Brooks Tries to Pin Insurrection Speech Blame on White House - Rolling Stone
Home Politics Politics News

Rep. Mo Brooks on Incendiary Jan. 6th Speech: Trump Made Me Do It

The Senate candidate told the MAGA faithful before the insurrection to “start taking down names and kicking ass”

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ark., speaks Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the "Save America Rally." (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ark., speaks Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the "Save America Rally." (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) speaks on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, in Washington, D.C., at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the "Save America Rally."

Jacquelyn Martin/AP Images

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) only wants to face the good kind of consequences for his comments the morning of the January 6th riot at the Capitol.

The MAGA-friendly representative is basing his campaign for Senate in Alabama around his unequivocal support of Trump, including the false idea that he won the election last November, but he’s had to temper his devotion to the former president in the face of a lawsuit filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) alleging that Brooks’ speech at the “Save America Rally” on January 6th helped incite the insurrection.

In a July 2nd court filing, Brooks claimed he can’t be sued for his comments the morning of the insurrection because they were made in the course of his duties as a federal employee, and that challenging the outcome of the election “represented the interests of his constituency.” Brooks also attempted to pin some of the blame on Trump, arguing that the only reason he spoke at the rally was because the White House asked him to make an appearance. “But for the White House request, Brooks would have not appeared at the Ellipse rally,” the filing read, also noting that Brooks’ office and the White House reached an agreement about the “parameters” of the speech in question.

Regardless of who devised its parameters, Brooks’ speech included a fiery call for the crowd of Trump supporters gathered at the Ellipse that morning to “start taking down names and kicking ass.” Brooks also noted how “our ancestors” sacrificed their “blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes, and sometimes their lives” before asking the audience if they were “willing to do the same.”

“Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America!” Brooks yelled before telling rally attendees to “carry the message to Capitol Hill” and that “the fight begins today.”

The speech was so rousing that Swalwell in March sued Brooks — along with Trump, Trump Jr., and Rudy Giuliani — for violating D.C.’s anti-terrorism laws by inciting the insurrection.

Brooks was not served with the suit until early June, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. According to Swalwell’s team, Brooks’ office refused to respond to phone calls and emails about the suit, forcing them to hire a private investigator. Still, Brooks was able to avoid the suit. “Plaintiff’s investigator has spent many hours over many days in April and May at locations in multiple jurisdictions attempting to locate and serve Brooks, to no avail,” Swalwell’s team wrote in a court filing in early June.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta responded to the filing by giving Swalwell’s team 60 days to serve Brooks. Less than a week later, a process server tracked down Brooks’ wife at their home in Alabama, following her into their garage after she got out of her car. Brooks responded by tweeting a picture of his computer screen while alleging the process server broke the law.

He then began using the incident to fundraise for his Senate campaign. “THEY CAME AFTER MY WIFE,” the subject line of one fundraising email read.

What Brooks didn’t do was respond to the lawsuit, and last week Swalwell filed another court motion asking for a “default judgement,” citing Brooks’ refusal to respond in a “timely” manner. The motion also notes that Trump, Trump Jr., and Giuliani all waived service of the summons and complaint, unlike Brooks who, again, had to be tracked down over the course of several months.

Judge Mehta on Monday rejected Swalwell’s request for a default judgement and accepted Brooks’ response, which was filed a day after Swalwell’s motion.

Brooks certainly isn’t the only Republican to breathe life into the false idea that the election was illegitimate, but few have done it with so much zeal. His speech on the 6th inspired multiple Democrats to call for his censure, but he refused to apologize. Instead, Brooks claimed his comments about fighting like hell and sacrificing blood and carrying a message to Capitol Hill — after which those who heard the speech went to Capitol Hill, fought like hell, and shed blood — were merely about the 2022 and 2024 elections. “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,” he wrote.

Less than two months later, Swalwell filed his suit. A few weeks after that, Brooks announced his Senate run. “President Trump can vouch, I don’t cut and run,” Brooks said. “I stand strong when the going gets tough.”

But now that he’s facing legal action, Brooks appears to be ever so slightly distancing himself from the comments he made on January 6th. He’s at least trying to pass some of the blame off to the White House, a strategy any of those who have been arrested for storming the Capitol could reasonably employ in defending their actions. But unlike all of the Trump supporters who breached the Capitol in the former president’s name who aren’t currently trying to get elected to the Senate, Brooks can’t risk ruffling Trump’s feathers, which may explain why he made sure to clarify that he still stands by the lie inspired the insurrection in the first place.

“In Brooks’ judgement … the evidence is overwhelming that the November 3, 2020 elections were the subject of voter fraud and election theft of a scale never before seen in America,” the filing read. “If only lawful votes cast by eligible American citizens were counted, Donald Trump won the electoral college and should be serving his second term as President of the United States.”

Falsely alleging that America’s electoral process is illegitimate. Calling on supporters to sacrifice their blood to save the country from socialists. It’s all just part of the job of a federal employee, apparently, for Brooks and the rest of the Republican representatives who continue to stand behind the former, defeated president.


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.