On Jan. 6, in the hours just before insurgents overran the Capitol, Republican Rep. Mo Brooks 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 Jan. 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 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 charges 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 Jan. 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 Jan. 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 Jan. 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.