Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), who could potentially face federal charges for triggering a fire alarm to delay a House vote, is urging his fellow Democrats to support him and has distributed talking points that lay blame on “Nazi members” of the Republican Party.
Bowman is under scrutiny for pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building, a clear violation of safety protocols and a potential federal offense. Republicans are considering resolutions to censure or expel him from Congress, prompting Bowman’s office to circulate a memo to Democratic members with talking points in his defense.
The memo, titled “MESSAGING GUIDANCE: Supporting Congressman Jamaal Bowman After Accidental Fire Alarm,” argues that Bowman mistakenly triggered the alarm while trying to reach the House floor for a vote. It claims that the confusing signage and an honest mistake led to the incident, suggesting that Bowman had no intention of delaying the vote.
Among the suggested talking points for Democrats, one states, “I believe Congressman Bowman when he says this was an accident. Republicans need to instead focus their energy on the Nazi members of their party before anything else.” Another deflects attention from Bowman by alleging, “There are multiple insurrectionist supporters in Congress and more who supported a coup and support Trump’s Big Lie. That’s what they should be focused on. Instead, their focus on Rep. Bowman is an attempt to minimize January 6th.”
However, there is video evidence and photographs of the door Bowman attempted to use, clearly showing that there was no confusion regarding the emergency exit signage. Critics argue that Bowman, as a former school principal, would have been familiar with fire alarm procedures and would not have accidentally triggered the alarm.
Bowman’s attempt to shift blame to Republicans and label them as “Nazi members” is seen by many conservatives as a way to evade accountability for his actions and distract from the incident. The incident itself raises questions about the level of responsibility and honesty expected from elected representatives in Congress.