Allahpundit looked into this on Tuesday, but the story behind Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s massively popular Instagram video where she describes her experience during the January 6th Capitol Hill riot keeps growing more convoluted. Despite claiming that she thought she “was going to die” and at least insinuating that rioters were attempting to break into her office, AOC wasn’t even in the actual Capitol Building when all of the action went down. Over at RedState, Nick Arama breaks down the distinctions between reality and perception. AOC’s office is in the Cannon Building which was never breached during the riot. She was briefly evacuated along with everyone else there, but other members were in immediate danger inside the Capitol Building and were far more at risk.
AOC wasn’t even in the Capitol building where all the action was going down. If she was in her office, she was in the Cannon Building which is nearby, but a different building. But of course, many didn’t get the logistics and just assumed that she was in the Capitol building.
According to Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who has an office in the same hall as AOC, two doors away, there were never any rioters in their hall so there was never any physical danger from rioters coming in at any point.
AOC’s building appears to have been briefly evacuated during the day as police checked on a nearby suspicious package that was later cleared.
I’m sure that AOC was legitimately afraid during the riot and with good reason. Assuming there’s a television in her office and she had the news on she would have known that hundreds of angry people were busting up the Capitol Building and acting in a threatening fashion. Given her unusually high profile for a very junior member, it would be reasonable for her to believe that some of the rioters could present a physical danger to her.
With all of that said, however, AOC failed to make one thing clear in her video (which quickly amassed more than six million views). At no time did any rioters enter the hallway where her office is located and it’s not clear that any of them ever entered any part of the Cannon Building at all. The one person who did reach her office was a Capitol Hill Police officer who was coming to evacuate her and her staffer. They had located a suspicious package (which was later cleared as being random and mundane) so they were getting everyone out of the building in an abundance of caution.
AOC’s story demonized the police officer, insinuating that he seemed “agitated” or “hostile,” as Allahpundit previously pointed out. But the guy was there trying to help her and potentially save her life if the package had turned out to be an explosive device. There were a lot of people to clear out of the area, along with all of the members who had to be protected in the Capitol Building itself who were legitimately in danger.
The hashtag “#AlexandriaOcasioSmollett” was trending on Twitter yesterday because of all this. Personally, I think that’s going a bit far. Comparing anyone to Jussie Smollett implies a premeditated plan to set up something entirely fake and provoke the public. AOC was on the Capitol grounds, though not in the actual building where the damage was taking place. It’s only a relatively short walk from the Capitol Building to the Cannon Building, so it’s not as if there wasn’t at least the possibility that her office could have been breached. Also, there were pipe bombs found in other locations, so the discovery of what the police described as a suspicious package was certainly a legitimate reason to be fearful.
But with all of this information taken in context, that massively popular Instagram video definitely seems to be, at a minimum, a bit overly dramatic. And the demonizing of a police officer who did nothing beyond perhaps being a bit rushed when he was trying to evacuate AOC and her staffer for their own safety was totally uncalled for.