Representative Mo Brooks asked the crowd at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference whether they are willing to “sacrifice” themselves as their “ancestors” did during the American Revolutionary War encampment at Valley Forge, where hundreds of soldiers died of disease.
The Alabama congressman – running for a Senate seat in the state with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump – is facing a censure effort and a lawsuit from Democrats in the House of Representatives after he joined a months-long campaign to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election, culminating in a speech telling the former president’s supporters to “start taking down names and kicking a**” before the riot at the US Capitol.
“Our choice is simple: We can surrender and submit, or we can fight back, as our ancestors have done,” he told the CPAC attendees on 9 July.
Continental soldiers at Valley Forge “didn’t fight the British – they fought for survival”, he said at the political conference. “Twelve thousand Continental soldiers arrived. Five, six months later, 2,000 died. Think about what they went through. Burying your brothers, your fathers, your sons, 10 to 15 a day, every day for six months.”
He added: “That’s the kind of sacrifice we have to think about, and I ask you – are you willing to fight for America?”
No fighting occurred at Valley Forge, a winter encampment under then-General George Washington, who ordered the “immediate” inoculation of its population from smallpox.
The GOP lawmaker – a proponent of the “Stop the Steal” campaign that spread the false narrative that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Mr Trump and his supporters – was the first member of Congress to vow to reject the results when a joint session of Congress convened to certify them on 6 January.
He asked the crowd that day to consider Americans who sacrificed “sometimes their lives” to create the “greatest nation in world history”.
Rep Brooks is targeted in a 65-page complaint filed by US Rep Eric Swalwell in US District Court in Washington DC that also names Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr and Rudy Giuliani for their actions and speeches leading up to the riot.
In a recent court filing to dismiss the suit, Rep Brooks argued that he only spoke at the rally “because the White House asked him to, in his capacity as a United States Congressman” and would not have appeared otherwise.
The former president is set to headline the weekend-long political conference in Dallas, Texas on 11 July.
The Independent has requested comment from Mr Brooks’ office.
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