In an hour-long Instagram Live video Tuesday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., described her personal experience last week when a violent mob of pro-Trump extremists breached the Capitol and forced lawmakers into hiding.
“I had a pretty traumatizing event happen to me,” she described. “And I do not know if I can even disclose the full details of that event, due to security concerns. But I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die.”
She added: “Wednesday [Jan. 6] was an extremely traumatizing event and it is not an exaggeration to say that many many members of the House were nearly assassinated. It’s just not an exaggeration to say that at all. We were very lucky that things happened within certain minutes that allowed members to escape the House floor unharmed. But many of us narrowly escaped death.”
Ocasio-Cortez has made connecting directly with constituents through social media a part of her brand, taking them behind the scenes into what life as a Congresswoman is like, hosting candid conversations and sharing videos like her receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.
In her video on Tuesday, she said she felt unsafe in the secure room where she was held with other lawmakers while the Capitol was under lockdown.
“I myself did not even feel safe going to that extraction point, because there were QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers and frankly white supremacist members of Congress in that extraction point, who I know, and who I had felt would disclose my location and allow me to, who would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, etc.”
She also pointed to several Republican members’ refusal to wear masks while under lockdown, which she says endangered the lives of her colleagues.
At least three Democratic members of Congress have tested positive for the coronavirus in the days following the insurrection.