Former President Donald Trump on Sunday called for Representative Jamaal Bowman to “suffer” like January 6, 2021, Capitol rioters, after the congressman pulled a fire alarm at a U.S. Capitol office building as lawmakers sought to reach an agreement to fund the federal government in order to avert a shutdown.
The incident took place on Saturday in the Cannon building, the oldest congressional office building in Washington, D.C., where Bowman’s office is located, amid the frenzied efforts by the House to pass a stopgap funding bill and avert a government shutdown. Bowman, a Democrat who has represented New York’s 16th District since 2021, pulled a fire alarm near one of the building’s exits, prompting an evacuation.
In the wake of the incident, Bowman claimed that he had pulled the fire alarm out of confusion while attempting to open a nearby exit door in a rush to get to the House floor.
“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,” the congressman said in a statement. “I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote.”
Numerous Republicans, however, have come forward demanding punishment for Bowman, varying in severity from an ethics inquiry to expulsion from the House to his arrest. Taking to his Truth Social platform, Trump called for the congressman to “suffer” like Jan. 6 rioters, echoing the disputed claims of other Republicans about Bowman’s intentions.
“Will Congressman Jamal 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 wrote. “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???”
Trump’s post referenced one of the charges, obstruction of an official proceeding, that numerous Jan. 6 rioters have been charged and convicted for, owing to their admitted efforts to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election by Congress. Trump and other Republicans have regularly claimed that the rioters have been treated unfairly, both in terms of the severity of their charges and their conditions in jail, arguments which opponents have strongly disputed.