Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up to date on the latest coronavirus news across New York
Bronx, Queens Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stunned her Instagram live broadcast viewers Monday night about her perspective on the January 6th Capitol attack by admitting she was a survivor of previous sexual abuse.
The two-term congresswoman did not name or elaborate on her attacker, but rather mentioned her previous trauma when she relived the violent coup attempt last month by an angry mob of Trump supporters who attempted to get Joe Biden’s Congressional certification Victory over former president to stop Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election.
In particular, Ocasio-Cortez compared the statements and behavior of prominent Republicans such as Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Texas Senator Ted Cruz after the coup with the actions of abusers. She said Hawley and Cruz – who were urged by Democrats to resign or expel to promote the January 6 attack – and other Republican colleagues downplayed the gravity of the incident when they tried to just “move on”.
“We cannot go on without accountability. We cannot heal without accountability, ”AOC said, getting emotional at times during the chat. “These people telling us to move on, it’s not a big deal, or telling us to apologize, these are the same tactics used by abusers. I am a sexual assault survivor. And I haven’t told many people in my life that these trauma reinforce each other when we go through trauma. “
The congresswoman said she was especially angry with Cruz and other Republican lawmakers who suggested that she apologize for “telling and telling the truth about what happened”. She declined these calls in part because she doesn’t want the January 6 attack to be repeated in the future.
“I won’t let that happen again. I will not let it happen to myself or any other victim again, and I will not let it happen to our country, ”added Ocasio-Cortez.
Here are some other takeaways from her Instagram live chat on Feb 1st.
Attack wasn’t a surprise
Thousands of Trump supporters gathered at the Capitol on January 6th to celebrate the “Stop the Steal” rally. The then-outgoing president himself had turned to the crowd and spread the same lies about election fraud that he and his closest supporters had been copying for weeks before the coup.
But no one should conclude, Ocasio-Cortez said Monday night, that the attack came as a complete surprise. She talked about receiving text messages from people a week before the January 6th coup warning her to be careful. She heard the same thing from fellow Congressmen who warned of the impending attack on the heart of American democracy.
This prompted the congresswoman to meet with her staff and work out a safety plan in case there were any problems.
AOC spoke of going to Washington on January 3 to take the swearing in and watch hundreds of Trump supporters who were already in town.
‘Where is she?! Where is she?!’
As the invaders stormed through the Capitol, Ocasio-Cortez remembered hearing loud, violent knocks on the door to their office. Taking refuge in a nearby bathroom, she remembered fearing for her life as she stood in silence, hoping to avoid attack.
“I hear someone walk into my office and hear these screams, ‘Where is she ?! Where is she?!’ And I just thought to myself: You came in, ”said AOC. “And that’s when I thought it was all over. I mean, I thought I was going to die. “
She peered through the hinge and saw a white man in a black hat. “Open the door of my personal office and go into my personal office and yell again, ‘Where is she ?! ‘“
A few moments later after the man died, AOC said she was summoned from hiding and met by an angry Capitol police officer who instructed her to go to another building. She would end up in the office of Congresswoman Katie Porter, a Democrat from California, where she would hide for the next few hours.
Talk to colleagues about it
Still in her work clothes and high heels, AOC said she asked Porter if her staff had left sportswear to change in case she had to flee the Capitol invaders. The office building has a gym that is used by members of the Congress and staff.
Meanwhile, AOC staff were working on locking the door to Porter’s office to prevent intruders from storming through. It reminded the Congresswoman of the many lockdown exercises today’s students and teachers endure to protect themselves from active shooters.
AOC also recalled opening the doors in Porter’s office to look for hiding places if necessary.
Porter recalled the encounter during an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Monday night following the AOC’s Instagram broadcast. The California Congresswoman said she was trying to reassure her desperate colleague at that desperate moment.
I said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m a mother, I’m calm, I have everything we need. We could live in this office for a month. ‘And she said,’ I just hope I become a mother, I hope I don’t die today, ‘said Porter.
Porter also said that AOC told her she regretted wearing heels to work that day, which led her to look for sneakers to wear.
“We went and found a pair of sneakers for one of my employees to wear so she could run when she literally had to run for her life,” added Porter.
AOC and Porter stayed in the office for hours until the Capitol was declared safe. Later, Ocasio-Cortez had dinner with Massachusetts Congressman Ayanna Pressley, who, according to the AOC, encouraged her to speak rather than hide about her experiences during the attempted coup.
Window for an apology
Hours after the Capitol attack, Congress resumed its constitutional duties and officially confirmed Biden’s election victory over Trump. Despite the events of the day, Trump-backing Republicans continued to protest the electoral votes of certain swing states where Trump and his acolytes had made their unfounded electoral fraud claims.
Ocasio-Cortez was appalled that lawmakers had failed to recognize their own role in provoking the Capitol coup by protesting the votes and believing Trump’s claims.
In the weeks since then, AOC has said it “felt it was important to give a window” a chance for those who play a role in sparking the insurgency to admit wrongdoing.
“But no. You had almost a month and didn’t even apologize for the riot, said the congresswoman.“ They double down and they said, ‘I did the right thing and if I could go back I would do it once. ‘”
“Not even a” I didn’t know I was going to do this or contribute to this violence and if I did I wouldn’t, and I’m sorry, “she added.” If I did that Heard the last three weeks, my answer would be very different. “
afraid of the future
AOC rejected the opposition that Cruz, Hawley and other Republicans had voiced against the impeachment of Trump after the president and against punitive measures to hold others accountable for the uprising. If Trump and other instigators are not held accountable, she believes they will strike again in the future.
“That tells me that these people remain a current threat because it tells me that if they then have another window of political opportunism for themselves, even knowing that it means that it is putting their colleagues at risk, they’ll do it again, “Ocasio-Cortez said. “That’s the real reason Hawley and Cruz, along with many others, should resign because they’ll do it again.”
Ocasio-Cortez said the actions are not about seeking political vengeance, but about protecting democracy.
“It’s about creating security and we are not safe with people in positions of power who are willing to put others’ lives at risk if they think it will make them a political point,” she added.