During a town hall meeting with constituents on Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., warned that something like the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot could happen again — and that the insurrection was thwarted only because Democrats controlled the House of Representatives.
“This is no joke. Jan. 6 was a trial run, and a lot of people don’t seem to understand that,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It was a trial run.”
The storming of the Capitol by a violent mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters as Congress was in the process of certifying Joe Biden’s victory left multiple people dead and over 140 officers injured. More than 750 people have been charged by the Justice Department in connection with the riot.
“They’re going to come back,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And if [Republicans] take the House, then they have the votes to not authorize and legitimize the presidential election.
“The only reason it wasn’t worse was because Democrats had the House,” she added. “And [Republicans] didn’t have the votes in the House.”
In the House, 139 Republicans voted against certifying the 2020 election, and text messages published last week showed how some GOP legislators were coordinating their efforts with the Trump White House.
Congressional Republicans could work with Trump supporters who still say the 2020 election was stolen and are now running for key offices across the country that would allow them to oversee the next presidential election at the state level.
The New York Times editorial board laid out potential issues in February in an op-ed calling for reform to the Electoral Count Act, stating that the law’s “confounding language created the space for a seductive narrative about a stolen election, and a legal path to take it back.”
“What if a state submits two conflicting slates of electors?” the editorial board wrote. “And what if the two houses of Congress disagree over which slate is valid? That’s a different sort of problem, and while it didn’t happen in 2020, it did in 1876 and could cause a major crisis again in 2024 — if, say, a Trump-aligned governor who believes that election was stolen refuses to certify a valid popular-vote count that favors the Democratic nominee, and instead authorizes his state’s Republican electors to cast their ballots for Mr. Trump.”
Ocasio-Cortez has spoken openly about her experience on Jan. 6, 2021, including saying she was working though it in therapy. In recounting the events of that day, she said she was hiding in her office bathroom when she heard voices she initially thought were those of the rioters, only to realize they were Capitol Police. She then spent five hours hiding in the office of Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif.
“I didn’t think that I was just going to be killed,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN last summer — she also feared she would be sexually assaulted.