House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called for Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., to be punished after he pulled a fire alarm in a Capitol office building on Saturday, comparing it to the Jan 6 rioters who attacked the building.
“When you think about how other people were treated when they come in and wanted to change the course of what was happening in the building,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy went on to say that the Ethics Committee should take the pulled fire alarm “seriously.”
“This should not go without punishment,” McCarthy said. “I’m gonna have a discussion with the Democratic leader about it. But this should not go without punishment. This is an embarrassment.”
Bowman later put out a statement saying it was unintentional.
“Today, as I was rushing to make a vote, I came to a door that is usually open for votes but today would not open,” he said Saturday night. “I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused.”
“But I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote. It was the exact opposite — I was trying urgently to get to a vote, which I ultimately did and joined my colleagues in a bipartisan effort to keep our government open,” he added.
A screen grab of security footage was distributed to officers so they could locate the person who pulled the alarm, a person familiar with the matter.
Democratic Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said he has not yet seen the video of the fire alarm being pulled.
“Until I see the video, I have no further comment,” he said when asked.
The U.S. Capitol Police are investigating, according to a statement that did not mention Bowman by name, and the House Administration Committee is conducting a probe as well.
“Rep. Jamal Bowman pulled a fire alarm in Cannon this morning,” an account controlled by the Republicans on the committee wrote on X, the website formerly known as Twitter, including spelling the congressman’s first name incorrectly. “An investigation into why it was pulled is underway.”