AOC, GOP lawmaker and office neighbor trade barbs over Capitol riot
AOC faces blowback over riot ‘trauma,’ as she wasn’t in Capitol building during siege
Noxious Nancy’s cynical timing: Devine
Rep. Katie Porter recounts AOC’s terrifying Capitol riot experience
One would be forgiven for forgetting that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a nationally prominent elected official with the most powerful social media platform in the country — because for much of the online-addled and increasingly millennial-driven media, she’s regarded more like a friend in constant need of a sympathetic ear and a helping hand.
Perhaps AOC did genuinely fear for her life during the Capitol riot on January 6, but since when are a politician’s purported “fears” mindlessly validated by journalists, instead of probed for factual and logical accuracy? For one thing, there is no evidence that any of the scatterbrained MAGA rioters ever entered the halls of the House Office Buildings, where she was hunkering down during the ordeal. And the dramatic story she told Instagram on Monday night culminated with the somewhat incongruous revelation that an intruder she’d assumed was going to kill her instead turned out to be a Capitol Police officer — not some bloodthirsty “insurrectionist” maniac.
AOC is a highly skilled political communicator. So when she invoked what she said was a past sexual assault during the telling of this tale, the point was to connect the “trauma” from that alleged incident to the “trauma” she incurred on January 6.
This heightens the emotional salience of her demands for extreme remedial action — everything from the expulsion of members of Congress to censorship purges.
Her appeals to Apple and Google shortly after the riot were swiftly accommodated, as the mega-corporations moved to boot the alternate social media site Parler from their app services. And now, questioning anything to do with AOC’s “lived experience” on January 6, or her proposed policy remedies, is denounced as compounding her apparent lifetime of trauma. Disputing what she has to say is suddenly tantamount to “abuse.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recounted hiding in her office bathroom as a man repeatedly yelled “Where is she?” during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and also revealed a sexual assault in her past as she talked about trauma.Tom Williams/Pool Photo via AP, File
Does the claim she advanced on Twitter, for instance, that Sen. Ted Cruz personally conspired to have her murdered seem a tad far-fetched? Sorry, that’s just her “lived experience” borne of “trauma.” It must therefore be respected and believed.
From the standpoint of political strategy, this is a brilliant rhetorical maneuver.
DC is turning into some kind of bizarre public psychotherapy session in which elected officials compete for who can exhibit the most overbearing narcissistic personality disorder — which is fitting given that Donald Trump, previously the undisputed champion by that metric, has been relegated to semi-retirement in Palm Beach.
Michael Tracey is a journalist based in Jersey City. You can follow him on Twitter at @mtracey.