Progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has leapt to the defense of fellow New York representative Jamaal Bowman as he faces criticism for pulling a fire alarm in the Capitol on Saturday.
AOC told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that Bowman’s actions occurred in a ‘moment of panic,’ exacerbated by the pressure and chaos of attempting to avert a government shutdown – which Congress successfully did late on Saturday.
‘I think there’s something to be said that the government’s about to shut down, there’s a vote clock that’s going down, the exits that are normally open in that building were suddenly closed,’ said Ocasio-Cortez.
Tapper responded, ‘So he pulled the fire alarm?’
AOC then attempted to defend her colleague by attacking the GOP for ‘protecting’ New York Congressman George Santos, who is facing an indictment centered on money laundering and lying to Congress.
Bowman put out a statement claiming that, while in a rush to make it on time to vote for a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open, he ‘activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door.’
AOC called the series of events a ‘misunderstanding’ that Bowman is working with House administration and US Capitol Police to clear up
Bowman put out a statement claiming that, while in a rush to make it on time to vote for a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open, he ‘activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door’
The incident, which was caught on camera and has since circulated far and wide, has sent Capitol lawmakers and their staffs into a tizzy as they semi-seriously try to understand why Bowman would think a clearly marked fire alarm would open a door.
The House was about to vote on a bipartisan bill to keep the government open for 45 days and avoid a shutdown.
The bill had overwhelming Democratic support, but members of the party were trying to buy time to read it after it was unveiled by Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
AOC called the series of events a ‘misunderstanding’ that Bowman is working with House administration and US Capitol Police to clear up.
Bowman, who has represented New York’s 16th Congressional District since 2021, said he regrets his actions and apologized for any confusion he caused.
Republicans, included Santos, moved fast to catch the wave of political momentum triggered by Bowman.
On Saturday, Congressional GOPers launched an investigation and began preparing legislation to expel Bowman from the House for allegedly obstructing any official proceeding.
Embattled House Speaker Kevin McCarthy compared Bowman’s actions to what transpired on January 6, 2021 in the same complex.
‘We watched how people have been treated if they’ve done something wrong in this Capitol. It will be interesting to see how he is treated on what he was trying to obstruct when it came to the American public,’ he said.
The incident, which was caught on camera and has since circulated far and wide, has sent Capitol lawmakers and their staffs into a tizzy as they semi-seriously try to understand why Bowman would think a clearly marked fire alarm would open a door
Firecracker Marjorie Taylor Greene said the Justice Department should prosecute Bowman the same way it has prosecuted January 6th participants.
‘It’s the exact same law,’ she said, referring to the federal statute that prohibits obstructing or impeding any official proceeding.
AOC blasted Republicans for attempting to expel Bowman, who ‘in a moment of panic was trying to escape a vestibule,’ but ‘protecting’ Santos.
‘[Bowman] apologized,’ she said. ‘And [Republicans] are protecting someone who has not only committed wire fraud, not only defrauded veterans, not only lied to congressional investigators, but is openly gloating about it, is absolutely humiliating to the Republican caucus.’
Her GOP colleagues, she added, ‘should really check their own values.’
Santos, himself the target of AOC’s defense, also got in on the mocking of Bowman’s alleged mistake.
In a short social media video, Santos, clad in a characteristically elaborate outfit, put out a fake PSA to children about how to use a fire alarm, seemingly poking fun at the lawmaker who apparently did not have that information on hand on Saturday.
‘Hi boys and girls, this is Congressman George Santos. This here’s a fire alarm,’ he said, gesturing to what is indeed a standard fire alarm.
‘If you lift this part here and pull this down, you trigger an alarm. Don’t do it. Stay good kids,’ he said before walking off. The X (formerly Twitter) post has been viewed nearly 700,000 times.
Santos captioned the video: ‘PSA: especially to all the boys and girls who were students at Cornerstone Academy for Social Action because your principal may not have taught you.’
Bowman was previously a school principal, making it even more unbelievable that he isn’t extremely well-versed in the operation of standard-issue fire alarms.
Bowman was confronted by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who called his actions ‘outrageous’
Among other prominent voices calling for Bowman to face the consequences of his actions is former President Donald Trump, who called for Bowman to be jailed on Sunday.
‘Will Congressman Jamal [sic] Bowman be prosecuted and imprisoned for very dangerously pulling and setting off the main fire alarm system in order to stop a Congressional vote that was going on in D.C.,’ Trump posted to Truth Social one day after the incident.
‘His egregious act is covered on tape, a horrible display of nerve and criminality. It was a very dangerous “Obstruction of an Official Proceeding,” the same as used against our J-6 prisoners.
‘Actually, his act may have been worse. HE MUST SUFFER THEIR SAME FATE. WHEN WILL HIS TRIAL BEGIN???’