Trump calls for Bowman to be jailed for pulling Capitol complex fire alarm

Donald Trump has called for Rep Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) to be put in jail for pulling a fire alarm in the US Capitol complex on Saturday.

The former president bizarrely claimed that Mr Bowman’s behaviour was worse than that of the rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

“Will Congressman [Jamaal] 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.,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social on Sunday.

“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???” he added.

Mr Bowman admitted on Saturday that he pulled a fire alarm during a House vote but denied he did so to delay it.

The New York Democrat and member of the so-called Squad of progressive lawmakers faced criticism from Republicans and others after CCTV showed him pulling a fire alarm in a House office building amid a vote to pass a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open.

Mr Bowman released a statement late on Saturday evening claiming that he was trying to open a door that was locked.

“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. “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.”

Republicans accused him of pulling the fire alarm to try to stall a vote to pass the bill, called a continuing resolution, that would continue funding the federal government. This came around the time that Democrats had said they needed time to read the text of the continuing resolution before they voted for the bill.

Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene accused Mr Bowman of being “an insurrectionist” and violating the criminal code that says that anyone who “otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official, or attempts to do so.” Special Counsel Jack Smith accused former President Donald Trump of violating the same statute in his investigation into the former president’s actions on and leading up to the January 6 riot.

Democratic congressman Jamaal Bowman setting off a fire alarm in the Capitol complex as Congress raced to avoid a lockdown (Capitol Police)
Democratic congressman Jamaal Bowman setting off a fire alarm in the Capitol complex as Congress raced to avoid a lockdown (Capitol Police)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy criticised Mr Bowman for trying to delay the vote.

“That’s a new low,” Mr McCarthy said during a press conference after the vote on Saturday. “We watched how people have been treated if they’ve done something wrong in this Capitol. It will be interesting to see how he is treated and what he was trying to obstruct.”

But Mr Bowman pushed back on the allegation.

“But I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote,” he said. “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.”

The New York Democrat said he met with the House Sergeant at Arms and the US Capitol Police to explain what happened.

“My hope is that no one will make more of this than it was,” Mr Bowman said. “I am working hard every day, including today, to do my job, to do it well, and deliver for my constituents.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) slammed Republicans for filing motions to expel Mr Bowman.

“What I do think is important to raise is the fact that Republicans ... immediately moved to file motions to censure motions to expel before there have even been conversations ... to even see if there was a misunderstanding here,” she told CNN on Sunday morning.

“What they did not do was to commit to the same when George Santos was actually found guilty after a thorough investigation of 13 federal charges,” she added. “He’s indicted on everything from wire fraud to actual lying [to] House investigators, and they have been buddying up and giggling with him on the House floor and they are protecting someone who has lied to the American people, lied to the United States House of Representatives, lied to congressional investigators, but they’re ... filing a motion to expel a member who in a moment of panic was trying to escape a vestibule. Give me a break!”

“And so the idea that there is somehow any kind of equivalence to someone who is actively trying to clear up a situation that he himself admits he’s embarrassed [by], he released a statement last night, he apologised and they are protecting someone who has not only committed wire fraud, not only defrauded veterans, not only lied to congressional investigators but is openly gloating about it,” she noted.

She argued that it’s “absolutely humiliating to the Republican caucus and I think that they should really check their own values”.