Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warned Thursday night that the U.S. stands "on the precipice... of fascism" and that an attack on the Capitol like the one that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021 could happen again.
Ocasio-Cortez's (D-N.Y.) comments in an Instagram Live video followed the first prime-time hearing held by the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.
The first installment of the public hearing, she said, revealed "new information, shocking information" including that "Republican members of Congress were seeking pardons before the insurrection knowing what they were about to do."
"There is such a concerted ring-wing operation to try to convince everybody that [the Jan. 6 riot and attack] didn't happen, that it wasn't a big deal," Ocasio-Cortez said. But, she stressed, "This was an attempted coup of the United States of America."
"When former President [Donald] Trump's own people told him 'No,' he was going to fire every single person down the chain until he found even a coffee fetcher," she said, "to overturn democracy." All this, said the congresswoman, "so that he could retain power."
"Those attacks killed people, traumatized people," the congresswoman said. And although Trump "promised his own people that he would pardon them... now they're going to prison," she said, adding that the former president "only cares about himself."
Ocasio-Cortez also singled out Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who on the day of the attack was tweeting the Speaker of the House's location knowing that the Trump-backed mob was looking for the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) "in that moment."
The focus right now, said Ocasio-Cortez, should be "on the bigger picture, which is that legally, structurally, institutionally very little has changed. Virtually nothing has changed" the behavior that led to the Capitol attack.
\u201cRep. @AOC (D-NY) goes live on Instagram to react to the first public January 6th hearing:\n\n\u201cPeople think that just because this man was on reality TV that this wasn\u2019t real \u2026 It\u2019s real f-ing life.\u201d\u201d— The Recount (@The Recount) 1654829481
Directing criticism at Republicans, she said that "not only did they vote to protect it, they encouraged it... So, we are on the precipice, legally, of fascism." She added that "no law was ever passed to prevent this from happening again."
"I dislike the 'lesser of two evils politics,'" said the Democratic congresswoman, but "this is not about two different political opinions" but "about if we're going to have a democracy or not."
Republicans, she said, "are pretending that this never happened and if anything...the Republican Party has only grown more supportive and defending of what happened on that day with time" and "only committed hard to the lie" of an election Trump supporters falsely portray as stolen.
She noted that the Jan. 6 mob was "trying to kill people" and that "some people did die." Ocasio-Cortez also rebuked the 21 House Republicans who voted against giving the officers who defended the Capitol the Congressional Gold Medal.
Rejecting the notion the mob storming the Capitol was composed of "poor, white, working class people," she said that they "had resources and they were targeting the vice president of the United States and the speaker of the House as well as everybody who was in that chamber as well as everybody on that campus."
The GOP, she added, has "been committed to covering it up every day since."