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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) comforted her fellow “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) as she wept on the House floor Thursday recounting the death threats she has received since taking office and explaining how hard it is to be a Muslim woman in Congress.
During a special order hour that Ocasio-Cortez organized, Tlaib and several other members of Congress told the stories about their personal experiences during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.
Tlaib was not present at the Capitol during the riot, but she was moved with emotion remembering how the riot made her feel. As she rose to speak, she started to cry almost immediately.
“On my very first day of orientation, I got my first death threat,” Tlaib began. “It was a serious one. They took me aside, the FBI had to go to the gentleman’s home. I didn’t even get sworn in yet and someone wanted me dead for just existing. More came later. Uglier, more violent.”
Tlaib’s emotion rose as she went on to mention a death threat she received that celebrated the New Zealand mosque massacre and another that mentioned her son by name.
“Each one paralyzed me each time,” Tlaib continued, as Ocasio-Cortez moved into frame to console her. “So what happened on Jan. 6, all I could do was thank Allah that I wasn’t here.”
Tlaib continued to explain how her staff keeps her death threats away from her now because they paralyze her with fear.
“All I wanted to do was to come here and serve the people that raised me,” Tlaib cried, remembering her mother.
“And so it’s hard. It’s hard when my seven brothers and six sisters beg me to get protection, many urging me to get a gun for the first time. And I have to tell you, the trauma for just being here and existing as a Muslima is so hard.”
Ocasio-Cortez moved back into frame as Tlaib’s voice trembled with emotion again as she explained how she fears for the life of her staff because they are a diverse team that includes LGBT people, black women, and a Muslim woman.
'On my very first day of orientation, I got my first death threat': Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib makes an emotional plea to take the January 6 Capitol attack seriously pic.twitter.com/297PIkZvlQ
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 5, 2021
According to a press release earlier on Thursday, all of the participants listed for the special order hour were Democrats: Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Cori Bush (D-GA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Adriano Espillat (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Peter Welch (D-VT), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA).
Lawmakers will share their personal stories of the Jan. 6 attack on the House floor tonight.
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) February 4, 2021
Ocasio-Cortez has lately been embroiled in a controversy regarding her account of the Capitol riot, with critics accusing her of exaggerating the threat she was in since she was in the Cannon House Office Building rather than the Capitol building, where the Senate and House are located.
As The Daily Wire reported:
Republican Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), whose office is two doors down from Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, noted that “insurrectionists” never made it to their hall when the U.S. Capitol building was breached on Jan. 6. Mace made the note while hitting the media for their attempts to “fan fictitious news flames” about the breach.
On Jan. 6, Mace tweeted that she left her office in the Cannon Building, still inside the Capitol complex but some distance from the Capitol Rotunda and House Chambers: “Just evacuated my office in Cannon due to a nearby thereat,” she wrote. “Now we’re seeing protesters assaulting Capitol Police.”