Alabama’s embattled Congressman Mo Brooks is on a rehabilitation tour after his fiery speech on Jan. 6 was seen as an incitement for a mob sacking the Capitol Building, leaving five dead.
At a recent rally, Brooks was joined by Ethics Commissioner Stan McDonald and former state Rep. Ed Henry, a convicted felon. The latter just a few weeks ago received a presidential pardon for convictions involving Medicare fraud.
How can a member of the Alabama Ethics Commission be a vocal cheerleader at a decisive and purely partisan event and still sit on a commission, the job of which is to render impartial judgment on political actors? While McDonald’s actions are not illegal, they are undoubtedly unbecoming and call into question his judgment and fair-mindedness.
Other Republicans were present at the event, but McDonald holds special significance because Brooks is under investigation for his Jan. 6 role in the rally and the insurrection that followed.
At what was heralded as a “free speech” rally, McDonald said he was standing behind Brooks and would “completely defend him,” according to a report in The News Courier.
President Donald Trump was impeached in the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 13 on charges of “incitement of insurrection” for his part in whipping up violent rioters who attacked the Capitol. Some 10 Republicans joined congressional Democrats to hold the president accountable for his actions. How can the same House members fail to find Brooks guilty of a similar indictment?
There is currently a censure resolution before the House and a measure to oust Brooks from the body. The resolution accuses Brooks of “encouraged and incited violence against his fellow Members of Congress, as part of an assault on the United States Capitol intended to prevent the House of Representatives and the Senate from discharging their Constitutional duties to count Electoral College votes. It further finds Brooks’ lack of remorse as a troubling pattern which it condemns.”
Brooks often points to religion and the Constitution as his guiding principles. Still, in speeches, he vilifies anyone who holds a different opinion and mocks the Constitution when it suits his political ends. He would not be out of place in a totalitarian regime or a rabid radical sect. There is little difference between Brooks and Middle Eastern fanatics or Russian strong men.
During the Priceville event, Brooks sought to explain once again why his words didn’t incite a mob to commit insurrection against the nation. Some Republicans may be convinced, but that may not matter in the House of Representatives.
On his “I did nothing wrong” tour, Brooks tried out variations of his defense. First, he claimed that his remarks were misunderstood, and now he’s trying to say it was just him expressing his free speech rights. Is Brooks a congenital liar, a political opportunist or a delusional, power-hungry demi-god in waiting? Perhaps all three?
AL.com’s Kyle Whitmire recently documented Brooks’ shifting views on Trump and his willingness to consent to the prevailing political winds. When Trump was running for the presidency in 2015, Brooks found him a man without honor, saying: “It’s not necessarily the sexual act itself; it’s the honor. … I want someone in the White House who is honorable. I believe honesty, integrity and honor are important attributes for the president of the United States.”
Whitmire further documents Brooks’ fanatical journey from a so-called never-Trumper to a defender, concluding: “Mo Brooks is not a stupid person. He’s a liar.”
At the Priceville rally, Brooks continued to lie, saying that his speech before the Capitol siege was part of a “debate about voter fraud and election theft that, in turn, was supposed to help propel America to make the changes necessary to have a more honest and accurate election system.”
No one should doubt that Brooks is a devious man who places politics above the country. Oh, he is bellicose in his rebuke of “socialist, anti-Christian” Democrats and the evil others. But make no mistake, Brooks is a real threat to our nation. In a Brooks America, a minority of white men would dominate every sphere of public life, while imposing religious order with Taliban-style justice.
McDonald, Henry and other Republicans support Brooks, and because of gerrymandering, he keeps getting elected.
But if our state values laws above individuals, believes that truth matters most and that the Constitution should be followed, then Brooks’s days as a congressman must come to an end because he is a danger.