WASHINGTON — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an Instagram Live on Tuesday night that she had a “very close encounter” on Jan. 6, the day of the violent insurrection at the US Capitol, and that she thought she "was going to die.”
Ocasio-Cortez did not provide many details about what happened to her on Jan. 6, saying she was not certain if she could "disclose the full details" given security issues. But she called the encounter “traumatizing," saying, “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive.”
Ocasio-Cortez was not in the Capitol on Tuesday night as the House voted to ask Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office after he incited the attack on the Capitol. She voted by proxy, having another Democrat vote for the resolution on her behalf.
The Democrat said she worried during the storming of the Capitol about other members of Congress knowing her location and did not feel safe going to the same secure location as her colleagues because of members who believe in the QAnon collective delusion and "frankly, white supremacist members of Congress ... who I know and who I have felt would disclose my location," saying she was concerned there were colleagues “who would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, etc.” She said she “didn’t feel safe around other members of Congress.”
Ocasio-Cortez said members of Congress "nearly and narrowly escaped death" during the riot. She praised the work of individual Capitol Police officers, particularly officers of color, but also brought up "acts of betrayal."
"To run in the Capitol and not know if an officer is there to help you or to harm you is also quite traumatizing," she said.
Ocasio-Cortez has not posted much on Instagram since the attack and recently posted a story saying that the Jan. 6 attack had been traumatizing and she would need more time to recover before filling in followers on what happened.
Ocasio-Cortez’s office, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the encounter.
During her livestream, Ocasio-Cortez spoke at length about the attempted coup, asking what the end game of political nihilism is. "What claim will you have? That you rule over a destroyed society? That the ashes belong to you?"
She also called out Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, who led the Senate push to try to overturn the election results after the Capitol riot, saying they "cast that vote not out of genuine belief" but out of "political ambition."
She joined a chorus of Democrats calling for their resignations, saying, "You do not belong in the United States Senate," adding that both senators had acted in order to boost their potential campaigns for president in 2024. "Let me give you a sneak peek: You will never be president. You will never command the respect of this country, never. Never. And you should resign," she said.
Ocasio-Cortez also called on the other 145 Republicans in the House and Senate who voted to try to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's win after the attack to resign their seats as well.
Katherine Miller contributed to this story.