Mo Brooks blames Trump for his participation in rally before Capitol riot

Brooks says he was acting in his official capacity when he egged on Trump supporters at DC rally

John Bowden
Tuesday 06 July 2021 22:08 BST
Rioters at the US Capitol on 6 Jan.
Rioters at the US Capitol on 6 Jan. (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

An Alabama congressman who is battling a lawsuit from one of his Democratic colleagues over his alleged role in inciting the Capitol riot has appeared to blame President Donald Trump for his actions in new court filings.

Republican Rep Mo Brooks’ attorneys wrote in court filings for the civil case brought by Rep Eric Swalwell on Friday that he was asked to attend the pre-riot rally outside the White House, at which Mr Trump directed his supporters to descend upon the Capitol, by Mr Trump himself.

“Brooks only gave [a speech] because the White House asked him to, in his capacity as a United States Congressman,” read the court filings posted by NBC Washington.

“But for the White House request, Brooks would not have appeared [at the rally],” they continued.

The filings are Mr Brooks’ latest attempt to dodge responsibility for the shocking violence of 6 January, when Trump supporters overwhelmed security personnel, including US Capitol Police, outside of the Capitol and broke windows, occupied offices, and committed vandalism across the grounds while lawmakers and staff feared for their lives while hiding in secure locations.

In the court documents, Mr Brooks claims that he was only carrying out his official congressional duties when he appeared at the rally ahead of the violence and called on the former president’s supporters to “start taking down names and kicking ass”.

While he has condemned the violence of that day, he has continued to use his alliance with the former president, as well as footage of his words to Trump supporters who later marched on the Capitol, as ammunition in his bid to replace Republican Sen Richard Shelby of Alabama, who is retiring and has endorsed Mr Brooks’ opponent in the GOP primary.

Mr Brooks has also remained unrepentant in his belief in the former president’s false claims about widespread voter fraud causing his election defeat in 2020, a conspiracy that was rejected by former US Attorney General William Barr as well as other top cybersecurity and elections experts.

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