A group of Democratic lawmakers, led by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, stood before the House Thursday to share their accounts of the deadly Capitol siege.
Ocasio-Cortez — who critics recently accused of exaggerating her experience during the violent riot — said it was important that the accounts be preserved for the record at a time when some in the nation are trying to minimize the Jan. 6 attack and “move on.”
“Sadly, less than 29 days later, with little to no accountability for the bloodshed and trauma of the 6th, some are already demanding that we move on,” she said.
“Or worse, attempting to minimize, discredit or belittle the accounts of survivors.”
The 31-year-old Bronx and Queens rep organized the hourlong session for her colleagues to speak about what they remembered from the harrowing day.
“Twenty-nine days ago, our nation’s Capitol was attacked. That is the big story. And in that big story lie thousands of individual accounts, just as valid and important as the other,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
One by one the Democratic lawmakers — no Republicans were involved — shared their memories, including seeing a mob outside the Capitol and hearing screams and glass shattering.
The lawmakers had been tallying the Electoral College vote certifying Joe Biden’s election victory when a mass of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building.
Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips recalled feeling “trapped” as he heard the rioters yell and the realization that he only had a pencil on hand to protect himself.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, of Michigan, broke down in tears as she remembered hearing about the riot.
“As I saw it I said thank God I’m not there,” Tlaib said.
“I felt overwhelming relief and I feel bad for Alexandria and so many of my colleagues that were here.”
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) remembered barricading with her staff and readying herself to confront rioters if they breached the room.
“I just remember taking a second thinking, if they touch these doors, if they hit these doors … and come anywhere near my staff, my thought process was, ‘We bangin’ ’til the end,’” she said.
“I’m not letting them take out my people, and you’re not taking me out.”
She urged her colleagues to “reject the white supremacist attack that happened right before our eyes.”
New York Rep. Adriano Espaillat said that the attack on the Capitol was not only an attack on representatives in Congress, but also on their constituents.
“We are their voices here,” he said. “We must not sweep this under the rug.”
Five people died in the riot, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick who was mortally wounded by the mob.
With Post wires
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