On January 6th, Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, told a crowd of Trump supporters “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass!” A large contingent of the crowd would go on to attack the U.S. Capitol, injuring 140 police officers and triggering the deaths of five people.
On Wednesday night, Slate revealed a curious detail of Brook’s appearance in front of the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally: he was wearing body armor.
“I was warned on Monday that there might be risks associated with the next few days,” he told the outlet. “And as a consequence of those warnings, I did not go to my condo. Instead, I slept on the floor of my office. And when I gave my speech at the Ellipse, I was wearing body armor.”
“That’s why I was wearing that nice little windbreaker,” he told Slate with a grin. “To cover up the body armor.”
He didn’t say who warned him, or what the “risk” was that he’d been warned about. There were probably a “half-dozen different motivations that affected people in varying degrees” to engage in insurrection. He named, for example, “financial losses suffered because of the government’s reaction to COVID-19,” “the belief that there was significant voter fraud and election theft activity,” or “a great love and respect for President Trump.”
“It might be,” too, he added, “that some of them were just militant anarchists and saw this as an opportunity to infiltrate an otherwise peaceful protest and turn it into a riot.”
Brooks shared his precautions with Slate in order to make an odd political point: while he was prepared for violence, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was not. Like several Republicans grasping for a way to deflect blame for that deadly day, Brooks insists that Pelosi ignored warnings and didn’t order increased security. In a fact-check, The Washington Post says those allegations “have never been backed by proof.”
Brooks is the subject of a civil lawsuit filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) alleging that Brooks incited violence during his appearance at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally. Earlier this week, the Department of Justice refused to intervene in the case, dismissing Brooks’ claim that he had immunity because he was acting in his official capacity as a Congressman.