Let’s be real for a second. We know Republicans en masse have been downplaying school shootings — and on the whole the party has been allowing the fringe of nutjobs who deny them entirely to become the base they need to appeal to.
It’s long been speculated that if the GOP in Congress actually suffered an attack of their own, they’d change their tune. Well, now we know that’s BS. The power they have to create their own alternate reality is absolute, even in the face of a deadly attack directed at them.
As we’re sure you’ve heard about nearly non-stop on the news for the past month, on January 6 a group of Donald Trump supporters, whipped up into a frenzy and told to march on the Capitol by the then-president, attacked the building where the election results were being certified.
Five people died, including a police officer who was beaten to death. There were two bombs found. Some of the invaders were armed, at least one had ziptie handcuffs. According to the FBI, some were planning to kill elected officials they disagreed with. By every timeline journalists and law enforcement have been able to recreate, thanks to the video evidence and accounts of witnesses, we were probably just seconds away from a world in which multiple Congresspeople and possibly even the Vice President were physically assaulted. The only reason it didn’t happen is because of the smarts and bravery of some of the Capitol officers.
THESE ARE THE FACTS.
OK, so one of the congresspeople those supporters hate most is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The NY representative has become the poster child for what triggers these people — she’s a woman of color, she’s working class, and of course she supports evil socialist agendas like taking care of the environment and making sure everyone has health care. They cannot stand her.
So on January 6 she was terrified.
She and her “squad” mates Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have been getting death threats basically since they got elected in 2018. So when armed insurrectionists had actually breached the Capitol building, of course she feared for her life.
This week AOC shared her very personal account of what happened with her and her staff, how she was feeling, the dread and paranoia.
How did Republicans react? Oh, they said she made it all up. #AOClied and #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett both trended like crazy on Twitter as the common refrain among Trump loyalists and GOP facilitators decided they could just go full Fake News and decide she was imagining the whole thing.
Again, this 100% absolutely happened. There’s footage, dozens of arrests, a funeral for the Capitol police officer who died, an impeachment trial against Trump for inciting the insurrection. How can people deny it?
The bigger question now is, HOW COULD SOMEONE WHO WAS THERE DENY IT??
Enter Nancy Mace, a newly elected Republican representative from South Carolina who responded to AOC’s story by tweeting:
“I’m two doors down from @aoc and no insurrectionists stormed our hallway…”
Wow. Just wow.
AOC never even said the attackers had gotten into the hallway; she just spoke about what she heard and the worst case scenarios she feared.
But Mace’s dismissive response was all the evidence the Trump mob needed to double their attacks.
But as we know, AOC is a fighter. She clapped back at Mace, writing:
“This is a deeply cynical & disgusting attack, @NancyMace. As the Capitol complex was stormed & people were being killed, none of us knew in the moment what areas were compromised. You previously told reporters yourself that you barricaded in your office, afraid you’d be hurt.”
It’s true. On the day of the attacks, Mace tweeted a very different view of the events:
And according to a local SC paper called The State, Mace was just worried in the moment as AOC was because she knew just saying the election was legitimate was enough to get her killed or abducted by these extremists:
“Mace said she barricaded herself inside her D.C. office during the attack. Fearing that Trump supporters she had seen staying at her hotel might target her after she voted to certify the electoral votes, Mace said she decided to sleep in her office that night.”
She even told the paper at the time she no longer believed in Donald Trump, stating:
“I can’t condone the rhetoric from yesterday, where people died and all the violence. These were not protests. This was anarchy.”
Of course, that was the day after the attack — when Mace was still saying the attack was “wrong” and not implying it wasn’t a big deal.
AOC pointed that out, writing:
“This was what you were saying just a few weeks ago. Now you’re contradicting your own account to attack me for Fox News clicks. It’s honestly pretty sad to see you turn around like this and throw other people under the bus. Thought you’d be better.”
And she wasn’t done. You don’t mess with AOC on Twitter, after all. She snapped off:
“Wild that @NancyMace is discrediting herself less than 1 mo in office w/ such dishonest attacks. She *went on record* saying she barricaded in fear. @NancyMace who else’s experiences will you minimize? Capitol Police in Longworth? Custodial workers who cleaned up shards of glass?”
She got more serious, adding:
“All I can think of w/ folks like her dishonestly claiming that survivors are exaggerating are the stories of veterans and survivors in my community who deny themselves care they need & deserve bc they internalize voices like hers saying what they went through “wasn’t bad enough”
This is where the true damage of what @NancyMace is doing comes in.
How many survivors are watching her? Who now, seeing her, won’t get care or will feel further shame or silence? Who won’t speak up bc they know there are voices in leadership ready to minimize their experiences?
How many food workers or custodial workers or Capitol Police officers, who ran for their lives in Longworth or feared for their families in the weeks after the attacks, now think their terror is less valid because of her statements?
Mace’s attacks are attacks on them, too.”
Mace responded by accusing AOC of — no joke — politicizing the insurrection. For real. The attempt to stop the election certification and keep Trump as president, essentially a violent attempt to overthrow the government. Yeah, why bring politics into something that is so clearly apolitical… *eye roll*
“Hold up You seem to be triggered by facts so let me be clear:
I have not ONCE discounted your experience. It was harrowing for all of us.
FACT: Insurrectionists weren’t in our hallways. It’s your eagerness to politicize absolutely ANYTHING that deserves condemnation.”
Again, gurl didn’t even say insurrectionists were in the hallway.
What AOC actually said was that she and her staff were huddled in her office, afraid, when they heard banging as if “someone was trying to break the door down.”
“I just start to hear these yells of ‘Where is she? Where is she?’ … This was the moment where I thought everything was over… I thought I was going to die.”
Crying, she spoke about the fear that overtook her in that moment:
“I felt that if this was the journey my life was taking, that I felt that things were going to be OK, and that I had fulfilled my purpose.”
Thankfully it wasn’t an extremist, as AOC herself explains next in the powerful statement. Her staffers pushed her to hide in the bathroom of her office, as it was her they were after. Then one of her staffers identified the man as a Capitol police officer. But even then, the 31-year-old’s adrenaline was through the roof; she saw the man through the crack of the door — and just saw a white male in a beanie. She hadn’t heard him identify himself as a cop. So she was still scared even of this man who was trying to protect her:
“It didn’t feel right because he was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility.”
Again, we’re talking about emotions here. Because her fear told her this man was hostile to her doesn’t mean he was. But she’s talking about what was done to her and her colleagues that day. This was an act of terror. They were terrorized.
That’s what she said, and there is absolutely no reason to doubt it — not in good faith.
It seems to us Nancy here is less interested in listening to what AOC actually said and finding unity — and more interested in becoming the next rising star of the right. Ugh. Really disappointing. How are you supposed to find common ground with officials who are willing to mislead people even about the time they were nearly killed?? Officials who are willing to twist the facts to appeal to a base who’d rather be fed lies from Trump and QAnon than believe their own eyes and ears?
What will it take for these people to stop bowing to a cult that is just objectively wrong?!
[Image via WENN/Instar/ABC News/YouTube.]