On Tuesday night, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hopped onto an Instagram live video and shared her experience during the pro-Trump insurgency at the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday. In a moving address straight to followers (of which more than 100,000 people joined in to listen and watch), the progressive lawmaker said she had a “very close encounter” with the rioters and “I thought I was going to die.” She repeated the chilling sentiment later in the hour-long video, saying, “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive.” She did not give more details on the encounter, citing security reasons.
What did she give more details on? Her concerns about sheltering with some Republican lawmakers. Why? Because she was afraid some of them might give up her location or enable chances for her to be hurt or kidnapped by insurgents. Let’s dive more into that horrifying possibility, as well as the lawmaker’s discussion of trauma and political nihilism, below.
“I didn’t even feel safe going to that extraction point because there were QAnon and white supremacist members of Congress who I felt would disclose my location and create opportunities to allow me to be hurt,” Ocasio-Cortez stated. She did not explicitly name the colleagues she thought might expose her to danger.
"Let me give you a sneak peek,” she stated in an address to Republican Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. “You will never be president. You will never command the respect of this country, never. Never. And you should resign.”
Ocasio-Cortez also stressed that the two conservatives essentially cast their votes in an effort to overturn election votes “not out of genuine belief” but instead out of “political ambition.” She also described Donald Trump as a “traitor to our country,” which, of course, he is.
“I don't want to see the Republican Party talk about blue lives ever again,” Ocasio-Cortez said in reference to a Capitol police officer losing their life during the riot. “This was never about safety for them. It was always a slogan. … Because if they actually care about the rule of law, they would speak up when people break the law."
Ocasio-Cortez also spoke intimately about trauma, saying, “You have all of those thoughts where, at the end of your life, these thoughts come rushing to you. That’s what happened to a lot of us on Wednesday. I 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 in a very specific sense." She also brought up that in addition to members of Congress, staffers, and even the children of lawmakers, were at the Capitol that day.
On a personal level, Ocasio-Cortez said she found herself sleeping more in the days after the riot, and that, “to me is telling me that my body is going through something and my brain is trying to heal."
People, as usual, were impressed by the progressive’s ability to connect with people—even at 11 PM on a weeknight.
And her transparency was, as ever, moving and important.
In speaking about nihilism in politics, Ocasio-Cortez really hit home with an emotional address, saying, “What claim will you have? That you rule over a destroyed society? That the ashes belong to you?" Those are questions every member of the Trump administration should answer.
You can also watch snippets of the live stream on YouTube below.
Update: This statement from fellow progressive Squad member Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s chief of staff Sarah Groh about realizing panic buttons had reportedly been “torn out” of the Congresswoman's office adds another unsettling and chilling element.