Speed Reads

Capitol siege aftermath

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez describes living through the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, fearing she would die

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) described her experience hiding from the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, recounting in an emotional Instagram Live stream Monday night how she believed she was going to die and comparing the response from some congressional Republicans to sexual abuse.

Ocasio-Cortez said she went to shelter in her office, and when a man banged on her office door, yelling "Where is she?" she hid in the bathroom. "I just thought to myself that they got inside," she said. "I thought I was going to die," and "I really just felt like, if this is the plan for me, then people will be able to take it from here."

The man trying to get into her office turned out to be a Capitol Police officer, who told her to go to another building but didn't say where to go or offer to escort her, Ocasio-Cortez said. So she went and sheltered in the office of Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who picked up the story on MSNBC, describing a shaken Ocasio-Cortez looking for hiding places in her office, too, saying she hoped to live long enough to become a mom.

Ocasio-Cortez also disclosed she is "a survivor of sexual assault," telling the 100,000-plus viewers that she hasn't "told many people that in my life." Her colleagues and others "that tell us to move on, that it's not a big deal, that we should forget what's happened or even telling us to apologize, these are the same tactics as abusers," she said, the tactics "of that man who touched you inappropriately at work, telling you to move on," or "the adult who, you know, if they hurt you when you were a child and you grow up and you confront them about it, and they try to tell you that what happened never happened."

Any members of Congress who don't regret what happened, "they continue to be a danger for their colleagues," Ocasio-Cortez said. Her experience, she tweeted later, is "just one story of many of those whose lives were endangered at the Capitol by the lies, threats, and violence fanned by the cowardice of people who chose personal gain above democracy."