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Mo Brooks nearly lost committee assignments over Jan. 6 Capitol speech

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy in a call with leadership worried over dangerous rhetoric from Brooks and U.S Rep Barry Moore, R-Alabama.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama., 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)

U.S. Rep Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, nearly lost his committee assignments following his fiery speech just before the deadly attack on the U.S Capitol, in which he said it was time to “fight like hell,”, and GOP leadership thought U.S. Rep Barry Moore’s comments following the attack were offensive and dangerous, The New York Times reported Wednesday. 

The newspaper reported that House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy in a call after the attack with Republican leadership said he feared far-right members of Congress, including Brooks and Moore, would incite violence against other lawmakers. 

McCarthy, speaking on the conference call with leadership, said of Brooks that the lawmaker had behaved even worse on Jan. 6 than former President Donald Trump, the Times reported. 

“You think the president deserves to be impeached for his comments?” McCarthy asked rhetorically, according to the newspaper. “That’s almost something that goes further than what the president said.”

Brooks noted to  The New York Times on Tuesday that he was dismissed from a federal lawsuit over his speech before the Capitol attack. 

“Kevin McCarthy spoke before knowing the facts,” Brooks told the newspaper,, adding that he did not recall McCarthy ever speaking with him directly about his speech.

McCarthy said on the call that lawmakers’ attacks on others over the presidential election outcome had to stop. 

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“The country is too crazy,” McCarthy said, according to The New York Times. “I do not want to look back and think we caused something or we missed something and someone got hurt. I don’t want to play politics with any of that.”

During the call a tweet by Moore was read aloud in which Moore, tweeting about the fatal shooting of Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt as she attempted to breech further into the Capitol on Jan. 6 that “it was a Black police officer who shot the white female veteran. You know that doesn’t fit the narrative.”

McCarthy, just after that tweet was read aloud on the call, said he wished social media companies would ban some Republicans as they had banned Trump after the insurrection, the newspaper reported. 

“Can’t they take their Twitter accounts away, too?” McCarthy asked.

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, a member of the House steering committee, played a tape of Brooks’s Jan. 6 speech for colleagues at the first session of the committee following the attack, the newspaper reported. 

“I saw jaws drop,” Womack said during an interview for the book “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future.”

Womack pushed for pulling Brooks from his committee assignments, but McCarthy decided to wait until the next meeting to address the matter. Womack resigned in protest. 

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“I cannot tell you how angry I was,” Womack said.

Brooks in polling is behind former U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby’s chief of staff Katie Britt, and U.S. Army veteran Mike Druant in the race to replace Shelby in the Senate. 

Brooks in March lost Trump’s endorsement, with the former president calling Brooks “woke” for Brooks in August telling rally-goers in Cullman to stop disputing the 2020 election results and “put that behind you” and look forward to 2022, which drew loud boos.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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