House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that fellow Democratic New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman doesn’t deserve censure for falsely pulling the fire alarm before an important vote last month.
Bowman pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor for the fire alarm incident in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Republicans have accused him of pulling the alarm to sabotage the vote, with some calling for punitive action.
“Not in my view,” Jeffries responded at a press conference when asked whether Bowman should be censured, accusing Republicans of hypocrisy.
“[M]any of these lawmakers on the other side of the aisle who had their hair on fire about what appears to have been an inadvertent action taken by Congressman Bowman, to which he is now being held accountable for, within the criminal justice system, regularly defend violent individuals who overran the Capitol on Jan. 6, as part of an effort to halt a peaceful transfer of power,” he said.
“And these violent individuals brutally beat and seriously injured 140 police officers, on the day of the insurrection,” Jeffries continued. “And many of them, who are having a panic attack, publicly, about Jamaal Bowman have actually defended or refused to comment on the violent mob on Jan. 6.”
Under an agreement with prosecutors, Bowman will pay a $1,000 fine and write an apology to the Capitol Police. The charge will be withdrawn in three months at a court hearing set for Jan. 29.
“I really regret that this caused so much confusion and that people had to evacuate, and I just caused a disturbance. I hate that. It’s pretty embarrassing,” Bowman told reporters.