Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized for “exaggerating” the threat of Capitol rioters after she opens up about surviving the trauma

The lawmaker revealed that she is a survivor of sexual assault, but was severely attacked, berated and erroneously "fact-checked" by Republicans who tried to portray her as a liar.


The Capitol riots which took place on 6 January, 2021 showed the world the flaws in the system of one of the greatest countries, the U.S.A.

Many judged the rioters as they saw them climbing walls, breaking doors, and destroying the government’s property. But it was the lawmakers who were inside the building at the time that feared for their lives the most. Among them was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who spoke openly of the harrowing experience. Being a survivor of sexual assault, going through the ordeal caused by the rioters triggered fear at her.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-N.Y) (Source: Getty Images | Photo by Joe Raedle)

Ocasio-Cortez heard someone yelling “Where is she?” while she was hiding inside the bathroom of her inner office. In an Instagram Live, she said how she feared she would be taken as a hostage, knowing many of the rioters were carrying zip-tie handcuffs, or even die. According to USA Today, Ocasio-Cortez said: “[It] almost felt like a zombie movie or something.”

“I thought I was going to die. This is the moment where I thought, ‘Everything is over,'” she said of the moment when a man, who happened to be a Capitol Police Officer, was looking for her “with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility.”

Protesters seen holding ziptie handcuffs after they managed to break into the senate chamber on January 6, 2021. (Photos by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Ocasio-Cortez gathered the courage to speak up and people listened, but not everyone understood. Instead of words of compassion, many criticized her speech claiming she was looking for attention and saying she was exaggerating. One of those people was Rep. Nancy Mace who tweeted: “My office is 2 doors down. Insurrectionists never stormed our hallway.”

Conservative journalist Jack Posobiec shared a map of the Capitol complex on Twitter trying to represent Ocasio-Cortez as a liar.

“These claims from Ocasio-Cortez critics leave out key context. First, the Cannon building is connected to the Capitol via an underground walkway that is frequently used by legislators, aides, journalists and others; the Cannon building is considered part of the Capitol complex. Second, Ocasio-Cortez did not mislead about where she was during the insurrection; she explicitly explained on Instagram Live that her office is in a building near the Capitol,” read CNN Edition.

Capitol Police were instructed to evacuate people from the Cannon building.

Ocasio-Cortez further said that the attacks against her were just an attempt by the Republicans “to avoid accountability for inciting a deadly riot that killed five people, including a police officer, and attempted to overthrow a democratic election.”