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The January 6th attack on the Capitol during the confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden will go down in infamy as one of modern America's darkest days. And it won't quickly leave the minds of those who lived through it, including New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In an Instagram Live video, which was uploaded to her feed on January 12th with the caption "What happens after the Capitol attacks?," AOC breaks down what exactly happened, how she and her fellow lawmakers are recovering, and where we as a nation go from here.
"Wednesday was an extremely traumatizing event," Ocasio-Cortez said to the over 100,000 people watching. "And it was not an exaggeration to say that many members of the House were nearly assassinated...I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive."
Photos and video from the Capitol siege show Trump supporters had erected gallows on the Capitol lawn (and were chanting "hang Mike Pence"), and some even brought supplies like zip ties in the event hostages were taken. It's unknown how many of these rioters were armed and ready to take lives.
"I know for a lot of you, I don't even have to describe it because you've been through it in school lockdowns, and you've been through it in false alarms..." Ocasio-Cortez said. "I pray that none of you have ever been in a shooting, but if you have been in a shooting, you know what that feels like. And it is no joke. That's what happened Wednesday."
She then said that Donald Trump is no longer fit to be president of the United States, and waiting until Inauguration Day to see him leave gives him and his followers too much time to retaliate and/or cause more chaos. She said that she fears the 25th Amendment, which would remove Trump from office, will not be invoked because those cabinet officials around him are "cowards."
"I have a message for anyone who is resigning after Wednesday: Too late. Too late," AOC said, calling out former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and former Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, all of whom resigned in the days following the Capitol attack. "You were a part of it."
"All of them are resigning rather than fulfilling their duties in enacting the 25th Amendment and removing the president of the United States," she said. "You don't get to allow for an attack that kills five people and then afterwards you say, 'I wasn't a part of it.' You were a part of it when you caged kids. You were a part of it when you repealed Title IV. You were a part of it when the president committed the first dozen number of crimes that he committed. You were a part of it when you excused the lawbreaking."
— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) January 13, 2021
And as for her fellow members of Congress who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who championed the movement against confirming Biden, Ocasio-Cortez said, "You do not belong in the United States Senate. You do not belong in any democratically elected seat when you do not believe that that election was even legitimate...So, get out."
"This is about if they wanna be president in 2024. Let me give you a sneak peek: You will never be president," she said. "You will never command the respect of this country. And you should resign. So should every member of Congress who voted to overturn the results of our election. Because they would rather cling to power than respect our democracy."
Both the House and Senate are currently debating the rules of a potential approval of the 25th Amendment, which would have to be initiated by Vice President Mike Pence. If he chooses not to invoke the 25th, Congress will move quickly to impeach on the charge of "incitement of insurrection." This will be the first time in American history that a sitting president is impeached twice—and we know which side of history AOC will be on.