In a 90-minute Instagram live video Monday night, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offered new details of her terrifying experience inside the U.S. Capitol Building during the right-wing insurrection on January 6 and warned that the Republican lawmakers who fueled and abetted the deadly attack with lies about the presidential election continue to pose a threat to their fellow members of Congress.
"It's not about a difference of political opinion... This is about just basic humanity."
—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
During her account, Ocasio-Cortez relayed that she is a sexual assault survivor, a past experience she said was relevant not only to the emotions she felt during the attack on the Capitol but also to the way in which many Republicans have responded since.
"The reason I'm getting emotional in this moment," she says in the video, "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."
"And I'm a survivor of sexual assault and I haven't told many people that in my life," the congresswoman added. "As a survivor, I struggle with the idea of being believed."
Condemning the unapologetic attitude of "craven" Republican lawmakers who peddled falsehoods about the election ahead of and following the mob assault, Ocasio-Cortez said those GOP members of Congress "continue to be a danger to their colleagues."
"This is at a point where it's not about a difference of political opinion," Ocasio-Cortez said of the demand for accountability for those who incited the January 6 attack, which left five people dead. "This is about just basic humanity."
This is an incredibly powerful statement to which every American should listen carefully. pic.twitter.com/xoeznCxWJA
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) February 2, 2021
Throughout the video, which has now been viewed more than 1.5 million times, Ocasio-Cortez recounted with harrowing specificity how she feared for her life as she tried to remain hidden from the violent pro-Trump insurrectionists who invaded and rampaged through the halls of Congress in an effort to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's election win.
"Where is she? Where is she?" Ocasio-Cortez said she heard someone yell as the person, who turned out to be a Capitol police officer, pounded on office doors. "This was the moment where I thought everything was over."
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Ocasio-Cortez recalled that she eventually ended up barricaded in Rep. Katie Porter's (D-Calif.) office for around five hours as the Capitol Police slowly cleared the building of insurrectionists.
"My story isn't the only story, nor is it the central story of what happened on January 6th," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted late Monday. "It is just one story of many of those whose lives were endangered at the Capitol by the lies, threats, and violence fanned by the cowardice of people who chose personal gain above democracy."
Thanks for making the space for me, and hope we can all make space for others to tell their stories in the weeks to come.
And to those who wish to paper over their misdeeds by rushing us to all “move on” - we can move on when the individuals responsible are held to account.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 2, 2021
The New York Democrat's willingness to share the details of her experience in a public forum was met with widespread gratitude, including from fellow Democratic lawmakers who said they felt similarly threatened by the events of January 6.
"Everyone deals with trauma differently," Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted. "Her stories are validating for so many of us with similar experiences and she is showing people that vulnerability is strength."
Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) wrote Monday night that he "shared AOC's concern about being locked in the same room as my Republican colleagues on January 6th."
"They had incited an insurrection, and were live-tweeting our whereabouts," said Jones. "Some of them continue to pose a threat to everyone who works in the Capitol. They must be expelled."