Despite claiming she had a near-death experience, she wasn’t even in the same building as the riots.
‘Squad’ leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made great political hay out of last month’s storming of the Capitol. She has talked it up as an attempted terror attack. ‘We came close to half of the House nearly dying’, she said in the days after the event. She insists she was in imminent danger of being ‘murdered’. She has used her ‘trauma’ at the Capitol to bolster her calls for a war on domestic terror and for tearing up the First Amendment. And this week, she likened those who have challenged her overreaction to sexual abusers.
But it turns out that AOC’s story is not all it seems. For one thing, she was not in the main Capitol building at the time of the riot. She was, instead, in the House Offices across the street, which were mostly left alone by rioters.
In an Instagram live this week, AOC said that she ran ‘back into my office’ during the riot. A Newsweek report said that as ‘members of the mob banged against the door, Ocasio-Cortez believed “this was the moment where I thought everything was over”’. This has since been corrected to make clear ‘the mob’ never entered her office. The original report was spotted by Republican congresswoman Nancy Mace, whose office is two doors down from AOC’s. She tweeted that ‘Insurrectionists never stormed our hallway’.
What’s even stranger is that it’s not clear which office AOC was in at the time. While AOC refers to her own office in her Instagram live, which is in the Cannon House Office Building, Democrat representative Katie Porter says AOC was in her office, in the Longworth Building. And AOC has thanked Porter publicly for ‘holding it down that day’ and ‘offering safety’. But whichever building AOC was in, rioters did not overrun it.
The discrepancies in her story led #AlexandriaOcasio-Smollett to trend on Twitter, with many comparing AOC to disgraced actor Jussie Smollett, who organised a fake hate crime against himself.
The Capitol attack was real, of course, though AOC has grossly exaggerated the scale of the violence. She has even tried to present herself as the main victim. The real victims, of course, were the six people killed in the chaos. And the main target of the rioters’ anger was not AOC, but Republicans like vice-president Mike Pence who refused to overturn the election on Trump’s behalf.
AOC has responded to those calling her out by accusing them of spreading disinformation. Her office has encouraged her supporters to combat questions about her whereabouts during the Capitol riots. Fans of the congresswoman have even started flooding the hashtag #AOClied with pictures of kittens to prevent Twitter users from reading about the discrepancies in AOC’s tall tale.
Her story has well and truly crumbled.