The continued unfolding of last week’s white supremacist coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol is now raising questions about the potential complicity and outright danger posed by some members of Congress themselves during the insurrection—even beyond their role in inciting the mob by pushing the lie that the presidential election was stolen from Trump.
On the heels of New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson’s announcement that she tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering with colleagues at the Capitol who refused to wear a mask, two additional Democratic members of Congress have since revealed they now have the virus—which they attribute to being on lockdown with Republican mask-deniers.
Following those announcements, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) said on Tuesday that she chose to leave a designated safe room for elected officials during the riot when she clocked that some of her co-workers on the other side of the aisle themselves also posed a safety threat.
“The second I realized our ‘safe room’ from the violent white supremacist mob included treasonous, white supremacist, anti masker Members of Congress who incited the mob in the first place, I exited,” Pressley said on Twitter.
The ease with which the coronavirus was apparently allowed to spread was only one of many seemingly deliberate dangers let loose inside the Capitol on that harrowing day. Pressley’s chief of staff, Sarah Groh, told the Boston Globe that during the incursion she discovered that the panic buttons in her office had been removed.
“Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit,” said Groh, who added that she had used the same panic buttons before and did not know why they had been taken out.
Meanwhile, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revealed in an hourlong Instagram Live on Tuesday night that she thought she was going to die during the insurrection at the Capitol, and added that “there was a sense that something was wrong from the inside.”
“It is not an exaggeration to say that many, many members of the house were nearly assassinated,” AOC said. “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive. And not just in a general sense but in a very, very specific sense.”
More from the Washington Post:
As the pro-Trump rioters streamed into the Capitol on Jan. 6, lawmakers were told to take refuge in a protected “extraction point.” But Ocasio-Cortez said she did not feel safe doing so “because there were QAnon and white-supremacist sympathizers and, frankly, white-supremacist members of Congress in that extraction point who I know and who I have felt would disclose my location and would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, et cetera.”
“So I didn’t even feel safe around other members of Congress,” she concluded. She did not say where she took shelter instead.
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), has made probably the most explicit statement suggesting elected officials in Congress played a direct role in the violence that descended on the Capitol on January 6. In a Facebook Live to her constituents on Tuesday, Sherrill accused members of Congress of helping the rioters scope out the building ahead of their planned attack.
“Those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 – a reconnaissance for the next day,” Sherrill said, NorthJersey.com reports. “I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.”
Whew—we knew Republicans have been playing with fire by fueling racist conspiracy theories they know their many racist supporters eagerly take up, but it speaks volumes that members of the U.S. Congress could have not only been cavalier with the lives of their colleagues but also may have actively put them in danger during last week’s unprecedented attack. Impeaching Trump is only the first step to uncovering the truth beneath this whole shady and treasonous debacle.