AOC on the Capitol Riot: 'I Thought I Was Going to Die'

“Many, many members of Congress were almost murdered,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said. “Many congressional staffers were almost killed.”
January 13, 2021, 3:02pm
US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addresses the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention, August 19, 2020. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via AP)​
US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addresses the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention, August 19, 2020. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via AP)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the biggest targets of President Donald Trump and conservative media over the last two years. And during the Capitol riot on January 6, Ocasio-Cortez said she had a “very close encounter where I thought I was going to die.” 

Ocasio-Cortez took to Instagram Live Tuesday night to talk about her experience of being locked down in the Capitol and her fear of being kidnapped or murdered, and her distrust of Republican colleagues who she thought would put her in danger.

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“Many, many members of Congress were almost murdered,” she said. “Many congressional staffers were almost killed.” 

Ocasio-Cortez revealed that she didn’t go to a secure location where members of Congress were locked down because she didn’t trust “QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers” in Congress who she “felt would disclose my location and would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, etc.”

“So I didn’t feel safe around other members of Congress,” she said, adding later: “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of the day alive.”

Several Republican members who sheltered in a secure location refused to wear masks, and at least three other Democrats in the room with them have now tested positive for COVID-19.

There’s at least one example of the scenario Ocasio-Cortez described actually happening. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a freshman Republican from Colorado who’s been linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory, tweeted about her location during the attack on the Capitol, and then tweeted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, another high-profile target of the far-right, had been removed from the House chambers.

While Ocasio-Cortez praised some Capitol Police officers but referred to “acts of betrayal” by some cops on Wednesday. The Capitol Police has suspended two officers and at least 10 more are under investigation, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio told reporters earlier this week. 

Of the officers suspended, Ryan said one took a selfie with rioters, while the other put on a Make America Great Again hat and “started directing people around.” 

“As we saw, there were members of Capitol Police who were quite heroic,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “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.”

But Ocasio-Cortez added there were “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.”