As U.S. Capitol Police were negotiating Thursday for the surrender of a suspect who threatened to detonate a truck bomb in front of the Library of Congress, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., issued a statement in which he said he understood “citizenry anger directed at dictatorial Socialism.”
After saying he was praying for the safety of Capitol Police and noting that “violence and threats of violence targeting America’s political institutions are far too common,” Brooks expressed some degree of sympathy with those upset at the federal government.
“Although this terrorist’s motivation is not yet publicly known, and generally speaking, I understand citizenry anger directed at dictatorial Socialism and its threat to liberty, freedom and the very fabric of American society,” Brooks wrote.
The suspect, who surrendered following a standoff with Capitol Police, was identified as Floyd Ray Roseberry of Grover, N.C. He was taken into custody shortly after 2 p.m. ET, shortly before Brooks posted his statement to Twitter.
In a live video streamed on Facebook, Roseberry said he represented “the South,” was part of a larger organization seeking to foment revolution and had come to Washington, D.C., for the American people.
“The revolution is on,” he said. “I’m ready to die for the cause.”
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., holds a news conference in the Capitol in June.
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., at a Capitol news conference in June. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc., via Getty Images)
In July, the Justice Department declined to represent Brooks in a lawsuit filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., that accuses him of helping incite the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.
Brooks spoke at a rally with Trump moments before the Capitol riot played out, and his role in urging the crowd to action has come under fire by multiple Democratic lawmakers. They note that the aim of the rally and the riot was to illegally block the certification of the Electoral College vote tally. Brooks has sought unsuccessfully to have Swalwell’s lawsuit dismissed on the grounds that participation at the rally was legally permissible for a member of Congress.
In its decision not to intervene in Swalwell’s lawsuit on behalf of Brooks, the Justice Department’s brief stated: “Instigating such an attack plainly could not be within the scope of federal employment. Violent conduct deliberately undertaken to thwart the employer’s interests cannot be within the scope of employment.”
Brooks has used video of his fiery speech ahead of the Jan. 6 riot as he campaigns for a seat in the U.S. Senate, and the violence did not stop him from presenting the Republican objection to the Electoral College results confirming that Joe Biden had defeated Trump in Nevada.
“Mr. President, I and 55 other members of the House of Representatives object to the electoral votes of the state of Nevada in order to protect the lawful votes of Nevada and all other American citizens,” Brooks said when presenting the challenge to Vice President Mike Pence, who swiftly swatted it down, since it was not supported by a senator.
In response to Brook’s statement on Thursday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of two Republicans serving on the House Jan. 6 Select Committee investigating the riot at the Capitol, offered a one-word rejoinder