New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman is facing backlash after images of him appearing to pull a fire alarm to delay a vote on a stopgap spending bill surfaced over the weekend.
The Democrat, a former school principal, allegedly pulled the alarm in the House Cannon office building. Still images from surveillance footage circulated the internet this weekend and prompted many Republicans to call for an investigation into Bowman.
“This is a former principal. He knows what a fire alarm is,” McCarthy said while appearing on Fox News. “This is man that has gone out and yelled at members and his behavior has been unbecoming.”
“What’s interesting is if it was really just an accident when the capitol police came to interview you, why would you lawyer up?” he continued. “Why wouldn’t you just say ‘Oh my gosh! I made a mistake here.’ Why would you let it go on?”
McCarthy said the lawmakers have been there long enough and know how to get to the capitol building.
Jamaal Bowman is a former middle school principal. He knows what a fire alarm is. pic.twitter.com/1VSdEbHWgz
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) October 2, 2023
Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis of New York said she will introduce a resolution to expel Bowman for pulling the fire alarm as a method of delaying the official vote.
“This is the United States Congress, not a New York City high school,” she wrote in a post on X. “This action warrants expulsion & I’m introducing a resolution to do just that.”
Bowman released a statement on Sept. 30 hoping to “personally clear up confusion surrounding today’s events.”
“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. I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door,” he said. “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,” Bowman continued, per The Daily Wire. “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.”
Bowman said he met with “the Sergeant at Arms and the Capitol Police, at their request, and explained what had happened” after the vote.
“My hope is that no one will make more of this than it was,” he added. “I am working hard every day, including today, to do my job, to do it well, and deliver for my constituents.”
Republican members of Congress mocked Bowman’s claim that he did not recognize the fire alarm. Georgia Congressman Mike Collins shared an image of the fire alarm on Twitter with the caption, ”I’m about to flush the toilet.”
I’m about to flush the toilet. pic.twitter.com/jCTsXzt2vP
— Rep. Mike Collins (@RepMikeCollins) September 30, 2023