Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reveals she’s in therapy following ‘attempted coup’ at Capitol

‘I feel like I learned this the hard way after my father had passed away when I was a teenager… That happened at a young age and I locked it away’

Justin Vallejo
New York
Friday 21 May 2021 20:08
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Tim Ryan rips into Republicans in opposition of Capitol riot commission
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she is in therapy following the "all-out, attempted coup" at the Capitol on 6 January.

Speaking to the weekly public radio show Latino USA on Friday, Ms Ocasio-Cortez said members of Congress effectively "served in war" during the traumatising event that had "deeply affected lawmaking" and impacted the legislative process.

"After the 6th I took some time and it was really Ayanna Pressley when I explained to her what happened to me, like the day of, because I ran to her office and she was like, ‘you need to recognise trauma’," Ms Ocasio-Cortez said.

"And I feel like I learned this the hard way after my father had passed away when I was a teenager… That happened at a young age and I locked it away. You have to live with it for years."

Asked if she was in therapy, she replied: "Oh yeah, I’m doing therapy but also I’ve just slowed down. I think the Trump administration had a lot of us, especially Latino communities, in a very reactive mode."

In the near aftermath of the pro-Trump riot, Ms Ocasio-Cortez released an Instagram live video saying she hid in the bathroom fearing for her life as police knocked on her door with "huge, violent bangs".

It became another flashpoint in the culture war as right-wing media said she exaggerated her level of danger and left-wing media attempted to debunk the criticisms as downplaying the severity of the attack.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez told Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa those criticisms were an attempt to maintain white supremacy and that no one wants to discuss the politically sensitive fallout or "say boo hoo", but that she recognised it as a traumatising event.

"I’ve had to take a beat. If I take a couple months now and just be really good then I don’t have to live with this thing festering and lingering with me like a roommate in my apartment for years,” she said.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez said the "terrorists, insurrectionists got into the Senate chamber" 60 seconds after vice president Mike Pence left and that lawmakers weren’t protected.

“Pence was the one person, arguably, that had one of the most important roles in making sure that procedurally the Electoral College counts went on as proceeded. Sixty seconds could have meant potentially the difference between what we have right now and a martial state,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said. “This was an all-out attempted coup.”

“If 60 seconds went differently, if a different door was opened, if a chair wasn’t barricaded in a certain way, we could have a completely different reality right now," she said. “We don’t want to acknowledge that that’s how close we got, but that is how close we got."

She said: “They were looking for us, and we were not protected,” adding that Republican criticisms of her were attempts to maintain the myth of American exceptionalism and white supremacy.

“White supremacy in and of itself is a mythology and you have to protect it in order to protect that political power, which has now become a very important base in the Republican party,” she said.

The House voted 252-175 on Wednesday to approve an 11 September style commission into the 6 January riot in a vote showing the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans into the severity of the event.

Only 35 Republicans crossed the aisle in the House, and whether the bill will pass the Senate remains unclear with minority leader Mitch McConnell indicating he will vote against it.

The House also narrowly approved legislation for $1.9bn emergency funds to increase security at the US Capitol, despite efforts from Republicans and progressive Democrats to block the bill.

In the razor-thin 213-212 vote, Ms Ocasio-Cortez voted "present" on the increased security measures, as did fellow progressives Rashida Tlaib and Jamaal Bowman. Three other Democrats – Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush and Ayanna Pressley – voted against the measure.

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