Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday rescinded his endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks, the U.S. Senate hopeful from Alabama who spoke at the Jan. 6 rally before a mob of protesters stormed the Capitol.
Brooks had been a fervent backer of Trump, calling himself “MAGA Mo” in campaign materials and voting against certifying the 2020 presidential election results, but he started to distance himself from the election objection last summer.
In August, he was booed by Trump supporters at a rally where he encouraged the crowd to “put that behind you” in reference to the 2020 election.
Trump said in a prepared statement on Wednesday that those comments were among the reasons he was pulling his backing of Brooks.
“When I heard his statement, I said, ‘Mo, you just blew the Election, and there’s nothing you can do about it,'” Trump said. “Very sad but, since he decided to go in another direction, so have I, and I am hereby withdrawing my Endorsement of Mo Brooks for the Senate.”
Brooks responded with his own statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying Trump was letting GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “manipulate” him. Brooks has railed against McConnell and promised, if elected, he would stand against the Kentucky Republican’s return as majority leader.
“I repeat what has prompted President Trump’s ire. The only legal way America can prevent 2020’s election debacle is for patriotic Americans to focus on and win the 2022 and 2024 elections so that we have the power to enact laws that give us honest and accurate elections,” Brooks said.
Brooks was the first member of Congress to say he would challenge the results of the 2020 election. But he said Wednesday he told Trump that he could not remove President Joe Biden from office and reinstall Trump.
“I’ve told President Trump the truth knowing full well that it might cause President Trump to rescind his endorsement,” he said. “But I took a sworn oath to defend and protect the U.S. Constitution. I honor my oath. That is the way I am. I break my sworn oath for no man.”
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Brooks sliding in GOP Senate primary polls
In his statement, Trump also pointed out that Brooks has been slipping in the polls.
An Alabama television station reported this week that its polling showed Brooks running third, behind Katie Britt and Michael Durant, in the Republican primary to replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby.
Both Britt and Durant have met with Trump about a potential endorsement, according to Politico.
Brooks had made Trump’s endorsement a key piece of his campaign.
Trump had been primed for weeks to pull his endorsement of Brooks, telling the Washington Examiner earlier this month that Brooks was “disappointing.”
He also had picked up Trump’s war with McConnell, who is in position to return as majority leader if Republicans retake the Senate in November.
But in his Wednesday statement, Brooks said Trump was being manipulated by McConnell.
“It’s disappointing that, just like in 2017, President Trump lets Mitch McConnell manipulate him again. Every single negative TV ad against our campaign has come from McConnell and his allies. I wish President Trump wouldn’t fall for McConnell’s ploys, but, once again, he has,” he said.
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When he took the microphone to speak to Trump supporters at the Jan. 6 rally, Brooks invoked the Revolutionary War.
“Our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes, and sometimes their lives to give us, their descendants, an America that is the greatest nation in world history,” he said. “So I have a question for you — are you willing to do the same?”
Contributing: Erin Mansfield