In her first extended public statement since last week’s deadly, Trump-incited Capitol riot, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez detailed her personal experiences during the chaos, alluding to what she said were “acts of betrayal” inside the Capitol building and admitting that she feared being kidnapped or harmed in some other way.
AOC also had blunt words for Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate who backed Trump’s attempts to overthrow the 2020 election that inspired the riot. “There were QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers and, frankly, white supremacist members of Congress,” she said in part.
In her remarks, which came in an hour-long Instagram Live video posted Tuesday night, which you can watch above or in full here, AOC didn’t reveal too many specifics, citing security concerns that made worry she couldn’t “disclose the full details.” But what she did disclose painted a picture of uncertainty and chaos during the siege of Congress — while also detailing her worries that unnamed members might have been in full support of what happened.
She also called out several of her legislative colleagues by name, and called on Republicans to denounce the politics of the riot, which she compared to the racist and treasonous foundations of the Confederacy.
“I had a pretty traumatizing event happen to me. And I do not know if I can even disclose the full details of that event due to security concerns, but I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die,” she said at the start. “And you have all of those thoughts where, you know, at the end of your life, all of these thoughts come rushing to you. And that’s what happened to a lot of us on Wednesday.”
AOC said she “did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive. And not just in a general sense, but also in a very very specific sense,” and added that “there was a sense that something was wrong, obviously with the violence, but there was a sense that something was wrong from the inside.”
“As we saw, there were members of capital police who were quite heroic. We have many officers and there were also black and brown officers that were confronting white supremacists and putting themselves, not just to protect members, but they put themselves in harm’s way on the front line, facing the racist violence of white supremacists ordered by Donald Trump to attack the Capitol. And so there were those acts of heroism,” she said.
“But next to that, there was also acts of betrayal. And to run in the Capitol in our nation’s capital and not knowing if an officer is there to help you or to harm you is also quite traumatizing.” She didn’t explain if the betrayal she referred to was something that hasn’t yet been reported, or if she was speaking of the at least 3 Capitol officers who appeared to have joined the ranks of the rioters.
“I myself did not even feel safe going to be that extraction point, because there were QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers and, frankly, white supremacist members of Congress in that extraction point who I know, and who I had felt would disclose my location, who would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, etc,” she continued. “And so. I didn’t even feel safe around other members of Congress.”
During the remarks, she specifically criticized Republican senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, both of whom voted against the certification of the 2020 election just hours after the riot ended. AOC said the two “cast that vote not out of genuine belief,” and were motivated purely by “political ambition.”
“Let me give you a sneak peek,” she said addressing both of them directly. “You will never be president. You will never command the respect of this country, never. Never. And you should resign.” She also called on all of the Republicans who voted to overturn the lawful outcome of the 2020 election to resign, and of course, expressed her support for the incoming impeachment of Trump for fomenting the violence.