Six days after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol (opens in new tab) in the middle of the Electoral College certification of the 2020 election, U.S. House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opened up about the traumatic day on Instagram live (opens in new tab). The congresswoman is no stranger to fielding questions from her constituents on the app, which had nearly 100,000 people tuning in to her hour-long live late Tuesday night while she answered questions about her experience on January 6. A few minutes into the video, she admits she thought she was going to die.
"I had a pretty traumatizing event happen to me and I don’t even know if I can disclose the full details of that event due to security concerns, but I can tell you I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die. You have all of those thoughts where, at the end of your life, these thoughts come rushing to you," she says (opens in new tab). "That’s what happened to a lot of us on Wednesday. I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive. And not just in a general sense, but in a very specific sense."
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez began the video by stating that the president is a "a traitor to our country," and called out Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) for being complicit in undermining our democracy out of political ambition. She also reiterates the grim reality of what could have happened not only to herself, but other members of Congress that day.
"Many members of Congress were almost murdered. Many congressional staffers were almost killed. Many children—children of members of Congress were there..."
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez then used the live as an opportunity to talk about trauma, telling viewers there have been counselors and physicians available to members of Congress and describing the rapid response that happens to your body when you’re exposed to a traumatic event.
You can watch AOC's full Instagram live here (opens in new tab).
Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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