Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended fellow New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon building during a time-sensitive vote on the Continuing Resolution spending package to avoid a government shutdown.
AOC responded to CNN host Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“He says it was an accident,” Tapper said. “He thought pulling the alarm would open a door based on the fact that the doors to his right there were locked and there was a sign that he said he was. I think someone said it was confusing. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t really make sense to me. His explanation. Have you talked to him? What’s going on?”
“I mean, listen, I think if you actually do see some of the photos of the signs, I think there’s something to be said about the government’s about to shut down,” AOC replied. “There’s a vote clock that’s going down. The exits that are normally open in that building were suddenly closed.”
“You pull the fire alarm?” Tapper asked.
“What I’m here to say is that House Administration and US Capitol Police and Jamaal Bowman are an active, and he’s fully participating in saying there was a misunderstanding,” she continued. “But what I do think is important to raise is the fact that Republicans, representatives like Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) and others immediately moved to file motions to censure. Motions to expel before there has even been conversations that are finished to even see if there was a misunderstanding here.”
However, AOC appears to be wrong in that those doors in the Cannon building were suddenly turned into emergency exits. And it is also beyond improbable that Bowman, a former school principal, did not understand he was about to trigger a fire alarm.
The Capitol Police also released a photo of Bowman pulling the fire alarm.
JUST IN: Capitol Police release photo of NY Rep. Jamaal Bowman pulling a fire alarm to suspend Congress and "disrupt an official proceeding" pic.twitter.com/o21CHuTJRN
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) September 30, 2023
Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s spokeswoman claimed he “did not realize he would trigger a building alarm” when he pulled fire alarm. “The Congressman regrets any confusion,” she says.
But there’s a huge problem with that excuse. Multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation into Bowman’s activation of the fire alarm within the House reported to Breitbart News that he initially tore down and discarded the two signs before proceeding.
These sources further provided Breitbart News with photographic evidence of the scene following the incident, showcasing the damage inflicted on the emergency exit door, which has since been repaired.
In the photographs capturing the double doors featuring glass windows, two prominent red signs are distinctly visible. Both signs bear the message, “EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY—PUSH UNTIL ALARM SOUNDS—DOOR WILL UNLOCK IN 30 SECONDS.”
Additionally, a standalone sign positioned in front of the doors reinforces the notion that this area serves as an “EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY.”
On the adjacent wall to the left, a fire alarm is prominently displayed, clearly marked as a FIRE alarm. There is a multiple step process needed to pull it. “Push In, Pull Down,” it says.
It is noteworthy that in the photograph depicting Rep. Jamaal Bowman activating the fire alarm, which has already been publicly released by Capitol Police, the two red signs that are typically affixed to the door appear to be absent.
According to a source familiar with the situation, during the House Democrats’ motion to adjourn vote earlier in the day, Rep. Jamaal Bowman approached the door in a nonchalant manner and proceeded to forcefully remove the emergency signs, discarding them on the ground.
“He ripped both of them off the door and threw them both on the floor,” the source familiar with the investigation told Breitbart News.
“Then, he leaned into the door and tried to open it,” the source added. “Then, he pulled the fire alarm. When the alarm begins going off, he turned around and ran—going down to the first floor of Cannon and exited out of a different door then made his way across the street to votes. At no point did he say to anyone ‘sorry this is a mistake’ or ‘sorry I pulled the fire alarm by mistake’ or anything like that. He didn’t say anything to anyone until he was confronted by Capitol Police later. By doing what he did he caused a whole building to be evacuated. Capitol Police and emergency services need to treat any alarm like a real threat until they know otherwise.”
These facts contradict Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s official public statement, in which he claimed he was attempting to use the door for exiting. According to the source knowledgeable about the incident, Bowman did not adhere to the 30-second waiting period, as indicated on the signs, and evidently, he did not adhere to the instructions provided on the emergency signs.
Bowman later told reporters: “I thought the alarm would open the door.”
Many Americans are looking to see if Bowman will be held to account for his allegedly illegal actions, which would include the crime of “disruption of an official proceeding.” This is the same crime that many has landed many J6 prisoners in jail for months on end awaiting trial.