In less than two weeks, the Congresswoman from NY calls Ted Cruz a murderer, insinuates a Capitol Police Officer might have come to kill her, and likens being in another building during the attack to the trauma of surviving actual sexual assault. Apparently, some need to be more careful with their language than others.
In the wake of the GameStop Wall Street rigging fiasco, the progressive firebrand, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “This is unacceptable. We need to know more about @RobinhoodApp’s decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit. As a member of the Financial Services Cmte, I’d support hearing if necessary.”
In response, Republican Senator Ted Cruz tweeted, “Fully agree.” It could’ve been a bipartisan moment, however brief, but that was not to be when AOC replied, “I’m happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there’s common ground, but you almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago so you can sit this one out. Happy to work w/ almost any other GOP that aren’t trying to get me killed. In the meantime, if you want to help you can resign.”
AOC was referring to the attack on the Capitol on January 6, equating Ted Cruz’s objection to the election results with complicity in the carrying out of the planned assault. While the attack on the Capitol is still under investigation, no evidence has been produced or even suggested indicating that Cruz took any part in the planning or execution, nor did he provide any support except voicing his Constitutionally protected opinion that irregularities and fraud affected the 2020 election results.
If Cruz committed any crime, it was one of thought and speech alone. For this, he is branded a murderer in public by a sitting member of Congress no less. Apparently, AOC hasn’t received the unity memo from President Biden, who as usual is completely AWOL on the issue: Fox News asked his communications team for any comment and they refused to provide a single world.
The mainstream media’s reaction was tepid at best. CNN claimed AOC “rejects Cruz support over Wall Street chaos.” USA Today said “AOC slams Ted Cruz in Tweet about Robinhood, Gamestop.” ABC News merely said that AOC “reacts.” To my knowledge, she has never been asked if she feels the same way about similar Democrat objections to electoral results in Congress in 2000, 2004, and 2016, or her own House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, claiming, in public on Twitter, that the 2016 election was “hijacked.”
Nor has she been confronted with her own reaction to the widespread riots following the George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020.
Even before that wave of violence erupted, she’s been on record clearly supporting rioting. “Once you have a group that is marginalized. Once someone doesn’t have access to clean water, they have no choice but to riot.” As the context of the conversation was the Israeli and Palestinean conflict, she helpfully clarified her true meaning. “I’m not even talking about Palestinians. I’m talking about communities in poverty in the United States, I’m talking about Latin America, I’m talking about all over the world.”
In May of last year, AOC made the connection between achieving her political goals and her acceptance of violence to do so even more explicit. “If you’re trying to call for an end to unrest, but you don’t believe that healthcare is a human right, you aren’t willing to say ‘Black Lives Matter’… then you aren’t asking for an end to unrest. If you don’t ask for those things, all you’re asking for is the continuation of quiet oppression.” She even posted a helpful guide to protesting safely that included no mention of being non-violent and even added that you should not bring “anything you don’t want to be arrested with.”
Throughout, she backed these words with actions, supporting an amendment to bar federal funds from being used to quell the rioting, looting, and sustained attacks on government buildings, smearing federal law enforcement officers in the process. “Federal law enforcement officers are snatching Americans off of street corners and placing them into unmarked cars for the ‘crime’ of exercising their First Amendment rights. The United States of America should not have secret police.”
If there was any doubt which side the progressive lawmaker was on, she also helped crowdfund bail for individuals arrested at violent protests and riots. As late as December last year, AOC was supporting protests that frequently turned violent, tweeting, “The whole point of protesting is to make ppl uncomfortable.”
Less than a month later, a mob tragically stormed the Capitol and suddenly Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was on the receiving end of a violent assault. Like hundreds of other Americans that saw their businesses burned down, some who watched their loved ones slaughtered in the streets, she was now the one in fear for her life and, perhaps needless to say, she didn’t like it.
On Tuesday, AOC took to Instagram to share her story. As the attack unfolded, she was planning lunch with her legislative director until they heard banging on her door, “like someone was trying to break the door down.” She ran through her office into the bathroom and hid against the wall. The knocking continued. “Then I just start to hear these yells of, ‘Where is she? Where is she?’ This was the moment where I thought everything was over.”
“I immediately realized I shouldn’t have gone into the bathroom. I should have gone in the closet,” she said. “Then I hear whoever was trying to get inside got into my office. I realize it’s too late.” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez recalled with tears in her eyes, “if this was the journey that my life was taking, that I felt that things were going to be OK. I had fulfilled my purpose.”
Soon, however, her legislative director called for her to come out, the man at the door was in fact a Capitol Police Officer evacuating the building. AOC was unconvinced, however, initially believing the arrival of the Capitol Police didn’t bode well, “the situation did not feel OK.” “He was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility,” she said. “We couldn’t read if this was a good situation or a bad situation.” Her staffer even wondered if he would have to fight the officer, according to reports, suggesting that a Capitol Police Officer, sworn to protect Congress, put them in a “vulnerable situation.”
In addition to recounting her experience in the video, AOC expressed frustration about moving on from the attack, even comparing it to the survivors of sexual assault. “These folks like to tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what happened, even telling us that we should apologize – these are the same tactics of abusers.” “I’m a survivor of sexual assault,” she added. “And I haven’t told many people that in my life. But when we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other.”
Ultimately, her concern is that “They’re trying to tell us that it wasn’t a big deal. They’re trying to tell us to move on without any accountability, without any truth-telling. What that tells me is that when given another window of political opportunity for themselves, even if they know that it means, that it will endanger their colleagues, they will do it again.”
Perhaps needless to say, the mainstream media immediately promoted the story with few questions and no skepticism, even about the most basic facts.
First, let’s be clear: I’m not in a position to question what she felt during those moments, our experiences are our own and I’m sure the event was traumatic. She is entitled to her feelings. At the same time, it’s equally clear that she was not in any danger at any point. She had no contact with the rioters, only the police, meaning she told the story in such a way as to maximize the drama, turning the arrival of the Capitol Police into a traumatic event itself and no doubt feeding the narrative that the attack might have been an inside job (accusations that have been made to date with no evidence).
Why is this important? Newsweek, for example, actually reported that rioters were in her office. “Ocasio-Cortez said that rioters actually entered her office, forcing her to take refuge inside her bathroom after her legislative director Geraldo Bonilla-Chavez told her to ‘hide, hide, run and hide.” “As members of the mob banged against the door, Ocasio-Cortez believed ‘this was the moment where I thought everything was over.’”
Even worse, it turns out that her office isn’t actually in the Capitol Building proper; it’s located in the Cannon Building. That building was evacuated, but never breached. She fails to mention this, however, making it look like she was right in the middle of the assault. Again, this isn’t to minimize her experience, but rather to question why she would choose to tell the story this particular way. Why make the Capitol Police look like the bad guys? Why put herself at the center of events? Why link it to a sensitive issue like sexual assault? Why call colleagues murderers and use incendiary language?
At this point, AOC has had almost a month to process these events. There are dozens of other ways she could’ve told this tale if she was merely interested in sharing her experience. Instead, she decided to turn a rescue at the hands of the police into a traumatic event, never mentioned or thanked the officer, indeed gave him no ability to even reply in his own words, and neglected to mention she wasn’t even where the action actually was.
Her trauma is one thing, her feelings are her own, but clearly she’s not simply recounting an experience at this point: She’s pushing an agenda, and there’s little doubt that agenda is to unleash the force of the government and the fury of her followers on the political opposition, perhaps permanently.
What form the force of the government will take remains to be seen as she appears to be against the domestic terrorism bill currently circulating, at least for the time being. Between the attack on the Capitol and calling Ted Cruz a murderer, however, she’s also voted to impeach Trump while denying him anything resembling due process, and bizarrely recommended some kind of government truth detector to reign in the, no doubt, conservative media. “I do think that several members of Congress in some of my discussions have brought up media literacy because that is part of what happened here. We’re going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation.”
If you think I’m being overly hard on AOC, remember this is the same woman that said nothing while mobs were storming government buildings and businesses for months on end, had no comment when Senator Rand Paul was physically assaulted right outside the White House, and even tried to raise bail for people arrested during riots. Now, however, she’s taking a figurative flamethrower to any and all decorum, and the media is helpfully cheering her on. The long cherished norms, apparently, no longer apply in service of a progressive agenda.