His excuses are going up in smoke.
Images of the fire alarm that Rep. Jamaal Bowman pulled in a House office building as his fellow Democrats were trying to delay a key vote to fund the government appear to douse his claims that he thought the move would open a door.
The bright red alarm is clearly marked with the words “FIRE” – and is right next to two signs that provide explicit details on how to open the emergency door at the Canaan House Office Building, photos show.
“Emergency Exit Only!” the signs read. “Push until alarm sounds (3 seconds). Door will unlock in 30 seconds.”
The strident socialist New York lawmaker, whose gaffe was caught on surveillance footage, simply needed to turn his head to the right to see the blaring signs.
Bowman, however, claimed it was an innocent mistake.
“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,” Bowman said in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“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.”
Sarah Iddrissu, his chief of staff, added in a statement on social media that, “Congressman Bowman did not realize he would trigger a building alarm as he was rushing to make an urgent vote.”
But many on Capitol Hill weren’t buying it.
“This is not confusing at all,” former Michigan Republican congressman Justin Amash wrote on X. “There’s a push bar on the door below the sign. Members of Congress see these signs all the time and know exactly what they mean.
“I can’t even imagine thinking it has something to do with a fire alarm pull on the wall,” Amash added. “Stop excusing his recklessness.”
The House was trying to hammer out a last-minute deal to avoid a government shutdown when the alarm blared inside the legislative office building, prompting an evacuation.
That raised suspicions among some of Bowman’s adversaries on the other side of the aisle that he had actually been trying to delay the vote with what he says was just a bonehead move.
“He was a school principal. He knows exactly what pulling a fire alarm means,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) fumed. “He did it while the Dems were trying to staff for time for the Senate and the Dem whip had just called for a motion to adjourn.”
Bowman insisted to reporters afterwards that he wasn’t trying to stall anything – and just goofed.
“I was rushing to make a vote. I was trying to get through the door,” he said. “I thought the alarm would open the door. I didn’t mean to cause confusion.
“I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay the vote,” he added. “It was the exact opposite — I was trying urgently to get to a vote, which I ultimately did.”
Capitol Police said they were probing the incident, and on Saturday released a still image of Bowman pulling the alarm.
The Republican-controlled House Administration Committee has also launched an investigation.
With Post wires
Get Best News and Web Services here