New York Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has hit back at Republican critics who accused her of lying about her traumatic experiences during the Capitol riot.
Ocasio-Cortez, 31, has twice spoken on Instagram Live about her terror on January 6, and on Monday night tearfully revealed that she is a survivor of sexual assault as she talked about the fear she felt during the deadly insurrection.
Yet Republicans, led by alt-right agitator Jack Posobiec, have accused her of faking her story.
‘AOC wasn’t in the Capitol building during her ‘near death’ experience,’ he tweeted.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was discussing the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection on Instagram Live on Monday night
He then showed a map, with her office in the Cannon House Office Building highlighted, and an arrow pointing towards the Capitol Rotunda.
Ocasio-Cortez responded, describing Posobiec’s claims as ‘the latest manipulative take on the right.’
She pointed out that the insurgents were all around Capitol Hill, not just in the main Rotunda.
‘We were all on the Capitol complex – the attack wasn’t just on the dome,’ she said.
‘The bombs Trump supporters planted surrounded our offices too.’
The Bronx-born congresswoman sparred repeatedly with Posobiec, a well-known troll, on Twitter.
When he posted a map, captioned ‘fact check’, she responded: ‘This isn’t a fact check at all. Your arrows aren’t accurate. They lie about where the mob stormed & place them further away than it was.
‘You also fail to the convey *multiple* areas people were trying to storm. It wasn’t 1.
‘You also failed to show tunnels. Poor job all around.’
She said: ‘People were trying to rush and infiltrate our office buildings – that’s why we had to get evacuated in the first place. The attempts of attackers & publicly available communications show how they tried to gain access and share location info on finding members for physical harm.’
She added that it was ‘damning’ that Republicans were engaged in a ‘discrediting campaign’.
‘It is also very damning and revealing that the GOP is now digging both heels in a discrediting campaign,’ she said.
‘It’s because they know they are implicated, so they’re pivoting to (again) the classic abuse playbook of “it’s not as bad as they say.”
‘It was that bad. It’s actually worse.’
While speaking about her terror on Monday night, Ocasio-Cortez chastised those who she said were pushing for people to put the day behind them and not recognize the lingering impact of such an event.
‘The reason I’m getting emotional in this moment is because these folks who tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what’s happened, or even telling us to apologize, these are the same tactics of abusers,’ Ocasio-Cortez said.
‘I’m a survivor of sexual assault, I haven’t told many people that in my life.
‘As a survivor, I struggle with the idea of being believed.’
She gave no details about the assault or when it took place.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Monday night about her experience, and shared her story with more than 150,000 Instagram followers online
The New York congresswoman drew parallels between the lawmakers seeking to ‘move on’ from the Capitol riot and the denial tactics used by abusers.
‘They’re trying to tell us to move on without any accountability, without any truth-telling, or without confronting the extreme damage, loss of life, trauma,’ she said
‘When we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other.
‘There’s no, something really big happens to you and then you deal with it and you move on, and then when something else happens to you, you deal with that.
‘Whether you had a negligent parent, or whether you had someone who was verbally abusive to you, whether you are a survivor of abuse, whether you experience any sort of trauma in your life, small to large. These episodes can compound on each other.’
‘All of your traumas can, kind of, intersect and interact.’
She said those telling people to move on were using the same tactics as abusers.
She specifically called out some Republicans, including Ted Cruz, who she says encouraged the violence.
‘These are the tactics of abusers, or rather, these are the tactics that abusers use,’ she said.
‘This is not about a difference of political opinion, this is about basic humanity.
‘The accountability is not about revenge. It’s about creating safety. And we are not safe with people who hold positions of power who are willing to endanger the lives of others if they think it will score them a political point.’
At one point, Ocasio-Cortez appeared to wipe away tears.
Ocasio-Cortez grew emotional as she described her experience hiding from the Capitol rioters
She said she heard someone storming into her office as she hid in a bathroom She then told how she was ‘a survivor of sexual assault’ with tears in her eyes
She had earlier apologized to her friends and family watching who may learn ‘things about me that you didn’t know before’.
‘It’s not about hiding. Sometimes you just can’t tell the same story over and over,’ she said.
Ocasio-Cortez went on to recount the terror she felt during last month’s attack on the US legislature at the hands of Trump supporters who were trying to overturn the election results.
She explained how at one point a man whom she believed to be a rioter broke into her congressional office as she hid in the bathroom.
She recalled hearing him yelling: ‘Where is she? Where is she?’
‘This was the moment where I thought everything was over,’ she said. ‘I thought I was going to die… I have never been quieter in my entire life.’
She later said she found out the man was actually a Capitol Police officer.
Ocasio-Cortez came out shortly after, when her legislative director told her to, and saw the officer in the office.
She said the officer told them to go to another building, but didn’t say specifically where or escort them.
‘You don’t know if that person was actually trying to protect you or not,’ she said.
Fellow lawmaker Katie Porter took to MSNBC to say that she had provided Ocasio-Cortez with a pair of sneakers during the riot, in case she needed to ‘run for her life’.
‘I just hope I get to be a mom. I hope I don’t die today,’ Porter recounted Ocasio-Cortez as having told her.
‘My story is not the only story, nor is it the central story, it’s one of many stories of what these people did in creating this environment,’ Ocasio-Cortez said.
‘These folks who are just trying to tell us to move on are just like pulling the page – they’re using the same tactics – of every other abuser who tells you to move on.’
Ocasio-Cortez went on to address calls for her to apologize after tweeting that Senator Ted Cruz ‘almost had me murdered’ during the riot
Ocasio-Cortez went on to address calls for her to apologize after tweeting last week that Senator Ted Cruz ‘almost had me murdered’ during the riot.
‘Some of the representatives who actually encouraged people to threaten members of Congress… are actually asking me to apologize for saying and speaking truth to what happened.
‘These are the tactics that abusers use… And how I feel is, not again.
‘I’m not going to let it happen to me again… and I’m not going to let it happen to our country.’
She told viewers: ‘If you have experienced any sort of trauma, just the fact of recognizing that and admitting it is already a huge step. Especially in a world where people are constantly trying to tell you that you didn’t experience what you experienced, or that you’re lying.
‘Those are additional traumas on traumas that you’ve already experienced. There’s the trauma of going through what you went through, and then there’s the trauma afterwards. Of people not believing you, or trying to publicly humiliate you, or trying to embarrass you.’
Ocasio-Cortez, whose district includes parts of the Bronx and Queens, is one of the most prominent progressive leaders in the United States.
She has become an influential voice in both New York City and national politics – often drawing intense and sometimes vitriolic criticism from those on the right.
She had strong condemnation for Trump for inciting the riots, as well as members of his administration who did not invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, as well as those who voted to overturn the election results.
‘I just hope I get to be a mom. I hope I don’t die today’: Rep. Katie Porter recalls AOC fearing for her life during Capitol riots and regretting wearing heels asking ‘how am I going to run’
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was so frightened of being killed by the MAGA mob that ransacked the US Capitol on January 6 that she hid in colleague Katie Porter’s office where a staffer lent her sneakers in case she needed to run for her life.
‘I hope I get to be a mom, I hope I don’t die today,’ the progressive New York congresswoman told Porter as a large mob of hundreds of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol on January 6.
Porter, the House lawmaker from California’s 45th congressional district, told MSNBC on Monday that during the riot, the progressive New York congresswoman asked to come into her office.
The California Democrat recalled how Ocasio-Cortez and several of her staffers appeared in front of her office door and asked to be let in.
‘Alex is usually unfailingly polite and very personable and she wasn’t even talking to me,’ Porter recalled.
‘She was opening up doors and I was like ‘Can I help you? What are you looking for?’
‘I’m looking for where I’m going to hide,’ Porter recalled Ocasio-Cortez saying.
Fellow lawmaker Katie Porter took to MSNBC to say that she had provided Ocasio-Cortez with a pair of sneakers during the riot, in case she needed to ‘run for her life’
Porter told MSNBC: ‘The thing that will always stay with me – as a mom, what was really powerful for me – was when I was saying: ‘Don’t worry. I’m a mom. I’m calm. I’ve got everything here we need. We could live for like a month in this office.’
‘And she said: ‘I hope I get to be a mom. I hope I don’t die today’.’
Porter then recalled how Ocasio-Cortez was wearing high heels, which would have made it difficult to run in case she needed to flee the MAGA mob.
‘I was wearing flats,’ Porter said. ‘I remember her saying to me: ‘I knew I shouldn’t have worn heels. How am I going to run?’
‘And we went and we found her a pair of sneakers to wear from one of my staffers, so she could run if she needed to literally run for her life.’
Porter said that she, Ocasio-Cortez, and both of their staffers were huddled in Porter’s office for some six hours fearing for their lives while the Capitol was being ransacked.
‘No one came to check on us,’ Porter said.
‘We heard voices in the hallway, we didn’t know what they were, whether those were police officers, whether those were intruders, and so we just stayed dark, we shut the curtains, we turned our phones off, we silenced everything and we just sat as still and as quiet as we could be in the hope that they would just run on by.’
Ocasio-Cortez ended up in Porter’s office because she and other lawmakers weren’t told where to go after being informed that there was a bomb threat, according to Porter.
‘When they evacuated the Cannon Office Building, they did not provide anywhere or any direction for those members to go shelter,’ Porter said.
‘They told them there was a bomb threat and they needed to immediately evacuate their offices.
‘But they didn’t tell them where they could go to be safe.’
Porter said that she also took in another congressional staffer who works for a colleague because that person did not know where to go.
In response to Porter’s interview on MSNBC, Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter and remarked: ‘Thank you for holding it down that day. You’re a wonderful friend.’