‘You didn’t only think you were going to die, you thought you were going to be raped?’ CNN host Dana Bash asked.
‘Yeah, I thought I was,’ Ocasio-Cortez answered nodding.
‘White supremacy and patriarchy are very linked in a lot of ways,’ the progressive Democrat said when recalling that day. ‘There’s a lot of sexualizing of that violence and I didn’t think that I was just going to be killed, I thought other things were going to happen to me as well.’
Ocasio-Cortez’s candid recollection came in a preview for the CNN series Being, which is airing an episode on her Monday evening.
‘One of the reasons why that impact was so doubled that day is because of the misogyny and the racism that is so deeply rooted, and animated that attack on the Capitol,’ she said.
AOC told CNN’s Dana Bash that she thought Capitol rioters would do ‘other things’ beyond just killing her if they found her that day
The lawmaker said misogyny and racism ‘animated’ the attack on the US Capitol
The star lawmaker revealed in a February Instagram Live video that she’s a survivor of sexual assault.
She told her story after critics suggested she and others move on from the day violent Trump supporters broke into the US Capitol.
In the 90-minute message the 31-year-old chastised those who she said were pushing for people to put January 6th behind them and not recognize the lingering impact of such an event.
‘The reason I’m getting emotional in this moment is because these folks who 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 of abusers,’ Ocasio-Cortez said.
‘I’m a survivor of sexual assault, I haven’t told many people that in my life.
‘As a survivor, I struggle with the idea of being believed.’
She gave no details about the assault or when it took place.
The New York lawmaker was discussing the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection on Instagram Live when she made the revelation
The New York congresswoman drew parallels between the lawmakers seeking to ‘move on’ from the Capitol riot and the denial tactics used by abusers.
‘They’re trying to tell us to move on without any accountability, without any truth-telling, or without confronting the extreme damage, loss of life, trauma,’ she said.
AOC’s account of coming close to being discovered by the violent Trump supporters has been criticized by House Republicans.
‘I’m two doors down from AOC and no insurrectionists stormed our hallway,’ Rep. Nancy Mace said earlier this year.
On January 6, the Democrat lawmaker was in her office in the Cannon Office Building – which was evacuated but not breached – when rioters stormed the Capitol Building 0.3 miles away.
Also in her recollection of that day Ocasio-Cortez described being afraid of a Capitol cop who came to save her because he looked at her ‘with hostility.’
She had been pondering what to order for lunch, she said, when ‘all of a sudden’ she heard ‘loud bangs’ and ‘booms’ with ‘no voices’. Terrified, she ran into the bathroom in the back of her office to hide behind the door. Then, she watched a ‘white man in a black beanie’ walk into her office, yelling ‘where is she?!’
‘There was no partner. He was not yelling “Capitol Police”…it didn’t feel right. He was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility and things weren’t adding up. Like so many other communities in this country, just that presence doesn’t necessarily give you clear signal if you’re safe or not,’ she said.
The cop told her to run over to the Longworth House Office Building, where she pounded on the door of Rep. Katie Porter and begged to be let inside. The pair sheltered there and AOC told Porter – who was ‘drinking a cup of coffee’ – that she wanted to survive the day and go on in life to become a mother.
On January 6, AOC tweeted that she’d barricaded ‘for hours’ but she didn’t say where. On January 13, she said she ‘thought she was going to die’ and ‘many of us narrowly escaped death’.
Also in the upcoming CNN special, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez still won’t say whether she’s ruled out challenging Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for his seat in the looming 2022 midterm election primary.
Ocasio-Cortez laughs off the question.
‘Here’s the thing, is that – I know it drives everybody nuts,’ she begins in the one-minute preview for an episode of the new CNN series Being. ‘But the way that I really feel about this and the way that I really approach my politics and my political career is that I do not look at things and I do not set my course positionally.’
‘I know there’s a lot of people who do not believe that, but I can’t operate the way that I operate and do the things that I do in politics while trying to be aspiring to other things.’
Schumer won his first Senate election in 1998 and has been serving ever since. In 2021 he became the first Senate majority leader from New York.
Ocasio-Cortez is a relative newcomer who shot to progressive stardom after beating 10-term incumbent and Pelosi protégé Joe Crowley in a 2018 Democratic primary.
But instead of saying whether she’d do it again Ocasio-Cortez told the CNN host, ‘I make decisions based on what I think our people need and my community needs.’
‘And so, I’m not commenting on that,’ she finished.
AOC has said she and Schumer have a good working relationship
The midterm elections are less than a year and a half away in November 2022, and the left-wing firebrand has been under repeat speculation on whether she’s eyeing higher office.
Ocasio-Cortez handily won her first general election in November 2018 for New York’s 14th Congressional district and was easily re-elected for her second term in late 2020.
And it’s not the first time Ocasio-Cortez teased a challenge to Schumer’s seat.
She told Punchbowl News in January that she is ‘indecisive’ and still trying to figure out her role within the Democratic Party and Washington politics.
‘I’m a no bulls**t kind of person,’ Ocasio-Cortez told Punchbowl News in a Q&A published Monday morning.
‘I’m not playing coy or anything like that,’ she said in reference to dodging questions on potentially primarying Schumer, a three-term senator who served as a U.S. representative from New York for 18 years before that.
‘I’m still very much in a place where I’m trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress, our [political] process, and our country actually address the issues of climate change, health care, wage inequality, etc.,’ AOC continued.
The relative newcomer shot to political stardom with her progressive firebrand approach
She said she is less concerned with focusing on moves within the party, whether that be to another chamber or to a leadership position.
‘For me, the positional stuff, these are just tactical decisions,’ she explained. ‘Those choices have a lot more to do with ‘the board’, not just one person. Not just me as an individual.’
Asked if she thought Schumer was doing a good job, Ocasio-Cortez said that’s ‘a hard thing to say’ before deflecting to a more collective stance.
‘We’ve had to deal with a fascist president and Mitch McConnell. There’s this thing, ‘Are we doing a good job?’ There are things you can do in the minority. There are also things you couldn’t do with this minority because Senate rules changed.’
‘I like to think of myself as a good-faith actor and not make unfair critiques,’ she continued. ‘But I do wonder – on the one hand, we pushed it to the limit rules-wise, on other things, you look back and there are things that are hard.’
She also said she wasn’t sure if Democrats losing the House would impact her decision on whether to run a primary race against Schumer but teased again that she was ‘very indecisive.’
But she said their relationship was an ‘open’ one where the two colleagues speak regularly.
Those in Schumer’s inner circle are concerned AOC could launch a bid and take out the 70-year-old senator in a primary race. Schumer thinks she would run instead for governor or lieutenant governor.