GOP Rep. Mo Brooks Defends Fiery Speech Before Capitol Attack: 'We Were Depressed'

GOP Representative Mo Brooks was the keynote speaker at a "Free the Speech" rally in Priceville, Alabama, Saturday, despite numerous demands for his resignation over a fiery speech he gave to President Donald Trump's supporters just before the January 6 U.S. Capitol attack.

The Morgan County Republican Executive Committee organized the rally at a Fredricks Outdoor store, which saw at least one former GOP representative urging attendees to "start another [political] party" since the "abandoning" of Trump by Republicans. Brooks, who several lawmakers said should resign or be censured over his January 6 remarks, defended the talk as one of the "best rally speeches" he's ever given.

Just prior to the Capitol attacks, Brooks told raucous rallygoers to "start taking down names and kicking ass" before directing them to "along the way stop at the Capitol." The rally emcee introduced Brooks as a congressman "not afraid to take names and kick ass."

Brooks claimed on Saturday that his widely condemned speech was taken out of context by the "fake news" media, and instead touted his remarks as exactly the right words needed by dejected Republicans and Trump supporters on January 6. Brooks claimed he "hates socialists" and news outlets for being "dishonest."

"We were kind of depressed and despondent because we just got our derrieres kicked in November and the night before in Georgia [Senate runoffs]," Brooks told rallygoers Saturday, urging them to start preparing for the upcoming 2022 and 2024 election cycles. "I thought it was one of the best rally speeches I had ever given."

"That was supposed to be a day of great congressional debate about voter fraud and election theft that, in turn, was supposed to help propel America to make the changes necessary to have a more honest and accurate election system," Brooks continued. "Instead, our message was hijacked. Once the illegal breach of the U.S Capitol began, the media forgot about voter fraud and focused on the U.S. Capitol events."

The News Courier, a newspaper based in Athens, Alabama, reported that between 500 to 1,000 people were in attendance at Saturday's rally. Former GOP Rep. Ed Henry, who was recently pardoned by Trump for aiding and abetting the theft of government property, told the crowd, "What we need to do is take over the Republican Party."

"The party has been controlled by people who don't have our best interest at heart," Henry told cheering supporters, many of whom were wearing Trump 2020 campaign clothing. He warned that any Republicans who were not in attendance at the Saturday rally "don't care about you."

Several of Brooks' Democratic colleagues in the House, including Tom Malinowski of New Jersey and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, earlier this month introduced a resolution for censure, a public rebuke by Congress.

"Not only did Congressman Brooks' fuel an insurrection against the body he serves in, his words helped spark chaos, destruction, injuries and death. Censure seems too trifling a punishment in this horrific case, but it's the minimal level of accountability Congressman Brooks should face from the same Congress he goaded rioters to assault," Schultz said in a statement blasting Brooks and other GOP lawmakers dubbed the "sedition caucus" for their efforts to halt he Electoral College vote count.

"Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass," Brooks told raucous attendees of Trump's "Save America" rally on January 6. Days later, the Alabama Republican doubled down on his Capitol speech many viewed as having incited violence. "I will never apologize for fighting to win our cases at the ballot box."

Newsweek reached out Brooks' office for additional remarks Sunday afternoon.

mo brooks priceville alabama rally
GOP Representative Mo Brooks was the keynote speaker at Saturday's "Free the Speech" rally in Priceville, Alabama, despite numerous demands for his resignation over a fiery speech he gave to President Donald Trump's supporters just before the January 6 U.S. Capitol attack. Screenshot: YouTube | AL.com