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Opinion | MAGA Mo no mo’?

In recent Twitter posts and radio interviews, Brooks suggested Donald Trump is dishonest and says Republicans are as bad as Democrats.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., is seen in the U.S. Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

As Alabama Republican Congressman Mo Brooks exits politics, it seems evident that he is intent on burning every bridge and salting the fields of every enemy — real and imagined.

In recent Twitter posts and radio interviews, Brooks suggested that ex-president Donald Trump is dishonest and may have committed tax fraud. He says Republicans are as bad as Democrats and that, in general, voters are dumb.

For a man who has spent his life in politics, Brooks is setting himself up for a lonely retirement.

But Brooks’ story, on the whole, is a tragic comedy that also serves as a cautionary tale of a man who sacrificed principle, integrity and his legacy on the altar of ambition. His illusion of grandeur never settled on his graying head, and now all he has left is his rage and bitterness.

So what has Brooks been talking about as he leaves the political arena?

In an Aug. 30 tweet, Brooks called into question Trump’s honesty for denying calling on Brooks to help reinstate him as president.

“#DonaldTrump denied demanding I, in 2021 & 2022, call for rescinding the 2020 election (or risk losing Trump’s endorsement).

Truth revealed: TRUMP demands reinstating him as president or hold new election, VIOLATING U.S. Constitution.

Honesty matters.”

So, here it appears Brooks accuses Trump of a willingness to violate the law to retain the presidency.

Perhaps the irony is lost on Duke University-educated Brooks. He was the first member of Congress to say he would use the 1887 law known as the Electoral Count Act to deny Joe Biden the presidency, an action for which Brooks asked for a pardon to avoid potential criminal prosecution.

Brooks also left open the possibility that Trump might have committed a crime by hoarding classified documents at his country club in August.

“Mar-a-Lago #FBI raid: Someone in BAD trouble:

Donald #Trump?

FBI agents?

Magistrate/judge who issued warrant?

Witness(es) who gave statement(s) on which warrant based?

Time will tell who criminal(s) are. This is SERIOUS, unprecedented conduct.”

Lately, Brooks may be siding with New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has charged Trump and three of his adult children with long-running bank, tax and insurance fraud.

“New York sues #DonaldTrump for hundreds of millions in fraud damages & refers matter to IRS for criminal prosecution.

No one should be surprised by this suit. I am not.

I ask one thing: that justice prevail, whatever that justice may be.”

None of these social media posts should surprise anyone because Brooks made his true feelings about Trump known in 2016, when he was running for president, first accusing him of “Serial adultery.”

“That is one of hundreds of things that are disconcerting about Donald Trump,” Brooks told AL.com’s Howard Koplowitz. “If the voters knew Donald Trump’s background, what he intends to do as president, I am very confident you would have a mass exodus from Donald Trump’s support base. And it might be his gutter-mouth tendencies. I don’t want in the White House someone who in front of little children on national television uses the kind of profanity that Donald Trump uses.”

Of course, that was then, and by 2020, Brooks had transformed from Never Trumper to MAGA Mo.

What changed Brooks’ mind? Power.

After Trump became president, Brooks saw that the only path to real power in the Republican Party was to become a Trump loyalist. He fulfilled his ultimate act of fealty to Trump when he waved a bloody shirt at the crowd gathered at the Ellipsis on Jan. 6 as he encouraged Trump’s supporters, saying: “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”

The mob heeded his call and stormed the Capitol in what is now known as an act of insurrection.

But now Brooks seems to see only Trump as the one who is a danger to the Constitution when he also risked upending the peaceful transfer of presidential power by his acts on Jan. 6 with his scam ploy to challenge Biden’s electors and use violent rhetoric to a heated gang of Trump followers.

These days Brooks doesn’t have the fervent regard for Trump he once feigned nor does he seem to have respect for his fellow Republican lawmakers. 

In a recent radio interview he said: “And quite frankly, the only difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is who their special interest masters are. We have very, very, very few congressmen and senators who truly serve the public and seek to do it in the public’s interest.”

In the same interview, he also blamed uninformed voters for his loss and the mess that is in Washington: “They made a bad decision, and now we’ll see how it plays out, much like it’s playing out all over the United States of America. A lot of people get mad at what’s going on in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, they don’t connect the dots quite often. Those people who are angry about our bad governance from Washington, D.C. are the very ones who sent our senators, congressmen and senators there that do these bad things.” 

In another, he accused Republicans and Trump of being weak on border control claiming they want migrants and a steady stream of cheap labor.  

Brooks’s 180-degree turn on Trump is not shocking. Slamming Republicans is not a surprise, either. Brooks has always seen himself as the lone champion of conservatism.

So as he storms off into the sunset, let’s wish Brooks well and send a farewell with a paraphrase of an old Southern expression: “Good riddance to you and the horse you rode in on.” (Okay, so I sanitized it.)

And now we know it’s MAGA Mo no mo’.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at bbritt@alreporter.com or follow him on Twitter.

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