2022 midterms

Trump Dumps Mo Brooks, Calling January 6 Speaker ‘Woke’

Brooks and his idol in happier times. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In a move that’s unsurprising yet still shocking, Donald Trump has reversed his endorsement of Congressman Mo Brooks, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, for saying the 2020 election results can’t be overturned. In one of the most hilarious characterizations of this MAGA extremist you could imagine, Trump’s de-endorsement statement claimed Brooks “went ‘woke’” by once telling a crowd hungry for stolen-election rhetoric that they should “put that behind you” and look forward.

Trump referred to this tiny speck on Brooks’s record of slavish devotion to the cause of reversing the election as something that happened “recently.” It actually happened on August 21, 2021, and it was so momentary that before the end of his speech, Brooks had joined the crowd in chanting “Fix it now!” in reference to the 2020 results. Since then, Brooks has shown impeccable loyalty to Trump, most recently by running an ad reminding voters of his fiery remarks at Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6 before leading the charge in Congress to decertify Biden’s win at the Capitol later that fateful day.

What did Brooks do wrong between August 21, 2021, and March 23, 2022, to forfeit Trump’s support? Best that we can tell, he just didn’t run a very good campaign. Specifically, his underfunded effort, led by a team that Brooks eventually replaced, looked bad compared with the slick bandwagon being built by rival Katie Britt, a business lobbyist and former chief of staff to Senator Richard Shelby. Her résumé may have screamed “Swamp!” but she had the personal stamp of approval from Trump chum Bill Belichick (who had coached Britt’s husband, Wesley). Compared with Britt and another well-heeled Senate rival, Mike Durant, Brooks was beginning to look like a loser: A recent poll showed him running a poor third in the Republican primary contest. So the 45th president dumped him, exhibiting once again that his well-known demands for loyalty from everyone around him are never reciprocal.

Trump calling this culture warrior “woke” is just cruel. Brooks’s campaign is now dead, and his future is clouded at best, with his MAGA credentials revoked.

After the hammer came down, Brooks cast some fresh light on how Trump treated him:

In other words, Trump set up a wildly unconstitutional and blatantly insurrectionary litmus test for Brooks that even the MAGA-to-the-max Alabaman was sure to fail. What a guy.

Trump didn’t indicate to whom he will now extend the Complete and Total Endorsement he took from Brooks. The best bet is that he will support Britt, whom he invited to meet with him at Mar-a-Lago last month and made positive noises about subsequently. But whatever he decides, Trump’s track record in Alabama is looking pretty sketchy. In the 2017 special Senate election in the state, he struck out three times, with two failed endorsements (primary and runoff) for Luther Strange and another for Judge Roy Moore, who lost to Democrat Doug Jones. In 2020, Trump did help Tommy Tuberville kill the comeback effort of his onetime attorney general Jeff Sessions, another strong Trump supporter the former president not only betrayed but blamed for his problems. Brooks can perhaps comfort himself with the knowledge that he is not alone.

Trump Dumps Mo Brooks, Calling January 6 Speaker ‘Woke’