HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WKRN) — An Alabama congressman’s statement about the man who claimed to have a bomb outside of the Library of Congress has fellow members of Congress condemning his words Thursday, accusing him of sympathizing with a terrorist.
Republican Mo Brooks, whose district covers Huntsville and northern Alabama, tweeted a statement Thursday offering his condolences to his staff, Capitol Police, and first responders.
“Sadly, violence and threats of violence targeting America’s political institutions are far too common,” Rep. Brooks said in the statement.
However, Brooks took the statement a step further saying that he “understood citizenry anger directed at dictatorial Socialism and its threat to liberty, freedom, and the very fabric of American society.”
Brooks’ statement Thursday on the same day as the bomb threat prompted a wave of social media criticism from other members of Congress.
“It is astonishing that this needs to be said but no one who serves in Congress should be expressing public sympathy with the views of a terrorist who threatened to blow up the U.S. Capitol,” Virginia Rep. Don Beyer tweeted. “I would have thought we could all at least agree on that.”
The Alabama Democratic party responded to Rep. Brooks’ tweet: “Mo Brooks quoted Hitler and compared Democrats to Nazis. On January 6th, he told the crowd who later stormed the Capitol to ‘kick ass and take names.’ Today, Brooks assumed the person threatening the US Capitol with a bomb was on his side saying he ‘understand(s)’ the anger.”
In a tweet, California Congressman Eric Swalwell retweeted Brooks‘s statement, saying: “Tell us you stand with the terrorist without telling us you stand with the terrorist.”
Earlier Thursday, 49-year-old Floyd Ray Roseberry of North Carolina, drove onto the sidewalk outside the Library of Congress and made bomb threats to officers.
The standoff was resolved peacefully after roughly five hours of negotiations, ending when Roseberry crawled out of the truck and was taken into law enforcement custody.
The episode unfolded during a tense period in Washington, coming eight months after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and one month before a planned rally in Washington that law enforcement officials have been preparing for.
Police negotiators spent hours communicating with Roseberry as he wrote notes and showed them to authorities from inside the truck, according to the two people and a third person also briefed on the matter, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.
While police continued negotiations, video surfaced of Roseberry on Facebook Live inside the truck, which was stuffed with coins and boxes. He was threatening explosions, making anti-government threats and talking about what he believes are the ills of the country, including the U.S. position on Afghanistan, health care and the military.
He said Democrats needed to step down, then also said he loved the president, Democrat Joe Biden. Facebook removed the videos a few hours after they were apparently filmed. Roseberry did not appear to have a specific demand for law enforcement other than to speak with Biden.
Videos posted to his Facebook before the page was taken down appears to show Roseberry at the Nov. 14 rally attended by thousands of Trump supporters to protest what they claimed was a stolen election. One video appears to be filmed by Roseberry as he’s marching with a crowd of hundreds of people carrying American flags and Trump flags and shouting “stop the steal.”
Rep. Swallwell tweeted Thursday that what bothers him and his colleagues is that if Brooks “wasn’t in Congress on January 6 he would have been on the other side of the chamber with the violent mob.”
Swalwell filed a lawsuit against Brooks, Former President Donald Trump, former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump Jr. back in March “for inciting an attack against the Capitol that terrorized lawmakers and prevented us from certifying the votes of the American people.”
Brooks has since asked for immunity from the lawsuit, arguing that “he was acting within the scope of his office when he spoke at a rally Jan. 6 and thus was due the legal protections afforded federal employees and members of Congress who are facing civil lawsuits over their jobs.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.