Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks told a crowd in August 2021 to look past the 2020 presidential election.
Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday pulled his endorsement of Alabama GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, who is running for the Senate seat currently held by retiring Republican Sen. Richard Shelby. Trump said Brooks was not focused enough on the 2020 presidential election and on pushing the lie that it was stolen from him.
Brooks has promoted the lie many times, but he angered Trump when he told Republicans at a rally in Cullman, Alabama, on Aug. 21 of last year that they should move on: "There are some people who are despondent about the voter fraud and election theft in 2020. Folks, put that behind you. ... Look forward, look forward, look forward. Beat them in 2022, beat them in 2024."
Trump has fumed about Brooks' comment for months, leading to Wednesday's pulled endorsement.
"Mo Brooks of Alabama made a horrible mistake recently when he went 'woke' and stated, referring to the 2020 Presidential Election Scam, 'Put that behind you, put that behind you,' despite the fact that the Election was rife with fraud and irregularities," Trump said in a statement. "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. ... I will be making a new Endorsement in the near future!"
Brooks was a key figure in the GOP effort to block the certification of Biden's Electoral College win on Jan. 6.
Brooks spoke at the "Stop the Steal" rally held in Washington before the Electoral College certification was slated to take place, exhorting the crowd, "Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass. Now, our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes and sometimes their lives … Are you willing to do the same? My answer is yes." After the rally, members of the crowd marched to the U.S. Capitol building and violently broke in, injuring 150 law enforcement officers and causing tens of millions of dollars' worth of damages.
Brooks had made Trump's endorsement of his Senate bid a focal point of his electoral strategy. As of the time of this writing, Brooks' Twitter name was still "Mo Brooks — Endorsed By President Trump," and his campaign logo featured the text "Endorsed by Trump."
In recent days, Brooks released an ad pushing voter fraud lies, but it clearly failed to salvage Trump's endorsement.
Brooks had reportedly already fallen precipitously in the polls. A Gray Television/Alabama Daily News poll released on Tuesday showed Brooks in third place, behind businessman Mike Durant and lawyer and former Shelby chief of staff Katie Britt.
If Brooks loses the GOP primary, he will not be in Congress in January 2023. The filing deadline to be a candidate in Alabama passed on Feb. 11, meaning Brooks cannot run for his House seat.
A Brooks primary loss with Trump's endorsement could have impacted Trump's own political ambitions.
Trump has long touted his record of successfully endorsing GOP candidates, and a loss would tarnish that image and make him look weak as he gears up for a possible presidential run in 2024, observers note. Mike Gibbons, a Republican candidate for Senate in Ohio who discussed not having received Trump's endorsement, told the Associated Press this month, "He doesn't want to be embarrassed and pick the wrong person."
However, it's not just Brooks who is floundering. Other Trump-endorsed candidates are having trouble raising cash for their bids, which Washington Post columnist Henry Olsen called a bad sign for Trump: "Many Republican candidates have hitched their political carts to Trump's horse this cycle. So far, the data suggest that might be worth less than they had originally thought. They wouldn't be the first people to have lost big by believing Trump's bluster. If most of them lose, they just might be the last."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.