Since Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat, took to Instagram Live on Monday to describe the January 6 riots taking place from inside the Capitol complex, critics have declared Dad that she is not where she says it, or that she cannot experience what she describes from her position.
These statements are false.
While Mrs. Ocasio-Cortez was not in the main, domed Capitol building when the rioters broke it, she never said she was there. She accurately describes being inside the Cannon House Office Building, which is part of the Capitol complex and is connected to the main building by tunnels.
During her live broadcast, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez recalls hiding in the bathroom thinking she will die when unknown people enter her office screaming, “Where is she?” It turned out that they were unidentified Capitol Police officers, and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said so on Instagram. She didn’t claim that they were rioters – only that, from her hiding place, at first she thought they were.
During the riot, reporters wrote on Twitter that the Cannon building is being evacuated because of credible threats, and the Capitol Police officers are running through the hallway and into the office just as Ms. Ocasio-Cortez describes it.
False claims about her claims went viral online, with the majority of the backlash coming from a conservative RedState blog article and a live stream from the right-wing commentator. Steven Crowder. On Thursday, Representative Nancy Mace, Republican Party of South Carolina, tweeted, “I’m two doors from @aoc and no agitators have entered our hallways.”
But Ms. Ocasio-Cortez never said that the faders broke into that corridor, and Mace herself described that she was scared enough to fence her doorstep.
“When the Capitol complex was hit by a storm and people were killed, none of us knew which areas were compromised at this time,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response to Mace’s post. (An Ocasio-Cortez spokesperson said the lawmaker had no further comment.)
Others have verified Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s account and confirmed that the Cannon Building was threatened, though the rioters in the end did not break it.
Ari Rabin-Havt, deputy director of Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted that he was in the Capitol’s tunnel during the attack. As Mr. Rabin-Havt moved toward the Cannon building, he wrote, members of a SWAT team were screaming at him for a hiding place.
And Representative Katie Porter, California Democratic Party, mentioned on MSNBC that after the Cannon Building was evacuated, she and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez took refuge in Mrs. Porter’s office in another building. She says Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is clearly frightened, opens the closet to try to find hiding places and wished she had worn flat soles instead of high heels in case she had to run.
Jacob Silver contributed to the report.