Two and a half weeks later, Gosar was repeating baseless claims about stolen ballots and rigged voting machines in a speech to Congress when he found himself interrupted by chaos on the House floor. Within minutes, lawmakers were being evacuated out of the chambers as rioters advanced through the heart of American democracy — spurred by the same rhetoric Gosar and some of his fellow Republicans had espoused.
The first part of Gosar’s prediction, at least, had come true: Capitol Hill had been conquered.
“We’re the four guys who came up with a January 6 event,” Alexander said in one video in December. “It was to build momentum and pressure and then on the day change hearts and minds of Congress peoples who weren’t yet decided or saw everyone outside and said, ‘I can’t be on the other side of that mob.'”
Brooks, a staunch conservative and one of Trump’s closest congressional allies, was one of the first speakers at the National Mall rally that preceded the riot, and his fiery language helped set the tone for what came next.
“Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass!” the six-term Republican shouted to the assembled protesters. “Our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes and sometimes their lives… Are you willing to do the same?”
Hours later, when some of the same people Brooks had spoken to were smashing windows at the US Capitol, the lawmaker livetweeted as he and his colleagues were being evacuated from the House chambers.
He later argued in a statement Tuesday that his remarks could not have been the cause of the violence. “No one at the rally interpreted my remarks to be anything other than what they were: A pep talk after the derriere kicking conservatives suffered in the dismal 2020 elections,” Brooks wrote.
“My brother swore an oath to defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic,” the congressman’s younger brother Tim Gosar, a private investigator in Fort Collins, Colorado, told CNN this week. “And he has blatantly broken that oath.”
Gosar’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
At the Arizona Stop the Steal rally with Gosar, Alexander played a video that he said Biggs, the chair of the conservative Freedom Caucus, had sent for the crowd.
A Biggs spokesperson told CNN that the congressman recorded the video at the request of Gosar’s staff, and had never worked with Alexander.
“Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,” the spokesperson said. “He did not have any contact with protestors or rioters, nor did he ever encourage or foster the rally or protests.”
Other congressional Republicans also painted their efforts to oppose Biden’s victory in sweeping, historic terms. In the days before the riot, Freshman Reps. Laura Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia both called the Wednesday electoral vote certification a “1776 moment.”
And speaking at the same rally as Brooks and Trump, Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, another newly elected member, told the crowd that “the Republicans are hiding and not fighting” and “they are trying to silence your voice.”
“I want you to chant with me so loud that the cowards in Washington DC that I serve with can hear you,” he declared.
A Cawthorn spokesperson said the congressman condemned the violence during the riot and has criticized Trump for “directing protestors toward the Capitol.”
“Mo Brooks and others like him should resign,” Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, said on CNN Monday. “They should have the decency to resign. They don’t belong in this institution. They have demonstrated a contempt for democracy and for freedom.”
Denver Riggleman, a moderate Republican who lost his primary nomination last year to a more conservative challenger, said that he thought GOP leaders needed to have a “come to Jesus” moment and hold the congressmen who fanned the flames of insurrection accountable. But he said he doubted that the GOP base would punish members like Gosar or Brooks when they were back on the ballot.
“Those elected officials probably will get reelected, and that’s that’s the issue that we have right now,” Riggleman said. “I think that’s what scares me the most.”
CNN’s Nelli Black, Yahya Abou-Ghazala, Ben Naughton, Bob Ortega contributed to this report.