Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), is facing criticism over her claims about the Jan. 6 Capitol protests, with many noting that she wasn’t even in the Capitol when the protests were taking place.
The New York congresswoman posted a video in which she described a confrontation with Capitol Police at her office, which is located on the larger Capitol complex. But it is not in the Capitol itself, which includes the dome, the House, and the Senate, which was where the rioters stormed the building.
Her office is located in the Cannon building, which is accessible through underground tunnels connected to the Capitol as well as via a short stroll down a walkway and across the street.
In response to the incident, the congresswoman said: “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive.” She also accused Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, of almost having her “murdered”, for supposedly inciting the protests at the Capitol. And in response to a tweet of Cruz agreeing with her on the GameStop trading issue, of all things.
That is when the backlash against her account began. As criticism piled up, AOC continued to double down. She subsequently accused Trump supporters of planting pipe bombs around the Capitol.
“This is the latest manipulative take on the right. They are manipulating the fact that most people don’t know the layout the Capitol complex. We were all on the Capitol complex – the attack wasn’t just on the dome. The bombs Trump supporters planted surrounded our offices too”, the congresswoman tweeted.
“They are manipulating the fact that most people don’t know the layout the Capitol complex,” she said. “We were all on the Capitol complex — the attack wasn’t just on the dome”, she added.
That tweet didn’t do much but invite even more criticism. Conservative personality Candace Owens accused AOC of spreading a “dangerous lie” that could lead to violence against Trump supporters, adding that there is no evidence about who planted the bombs.
“AOC is targeting 80 million trump voters with a malicious lie his supporters planted bombs outside of her office. This lie invites retaliatory violence against Trump supporters”, said Owens.
Then came the criticism from her colleagues in the Congress GOP congresswoman Nancy Mace was first to question AOC’s account of the events that day.
“I’m two doors down from @aoc and no insurrectionists stormed our hallway…”, the congresswoman said.
AOC did not like that one bit. She called out the congresswoman, calling her tweet a “deeply cynical and disgusting attack”, and noting that they did not know what buildings were compromised at the time. Congresswoman Mace was quick to respond.
The controversy soon turned bizarre, as AOC apparently tried to tie her own account of the events at the Capitol with the experiences of rape victims.
“To survivors of any trauma who worry about being believed, or that their situation wasn’t ‘bad’ enough or ‘too’ bad, or fear being branded or deemed ‘manipulative’ for telling the truth: I see you,” she tweeted.
“Community is here for you. You are safe with me, and with all of us. You are loved!”, she added, apparently hoping that she too would be “loved” and safe from the “twitter trolls”.
As the meltdown was nearing its peak, and the critics not relenting, AOC apparently decided to go with the usual route of people who can’t take criticism online. She reportedly asked her followers to report the people that are criticizing her.
Reporting a comment or a tweet may result in the tweet or comment being removed and the person suspended, effectively silencing the critics.
Whether or not recipients of that email decided to act on it and report comments and tweets that criticize AOC is impossible to know. What we do know is that her supporters did decide to do something to control the damage. Well, to attempt to control it, at least.
In what seems to be a misguided attempt to drown out the messages calling AOC out on her claims, her follower took to #AOClied, #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett and #AOC twitter hashtags to post pictures of their pets, children and favorite anime characters and Korean singers.
It is difficult to understand what her supporters believed they were accomplishing with that cringeworthy exercise. It seems unlikely that the effect would be anything other than bringing even more attention to the controversy.