If 26,000 National Guardsmen aren’t enough to keep you safe from Republican members of Congress, what is?
On Wednesday, New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez snubbed the inauguration of Joe Biden. Instead, she made a public show of her support for a Teamsters strike in her home district, according to The Hill.
But her absence from Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president wasn’t just about union boosterism, nor was it about the fact she finds him too moderate for her tastes. (Even as the de facto poster-millennial for the young far left, her contact with Biden and his campaign were minimal, according to a Washington Post article from April, when he’d all but sewn up the nomination, and she wasn’t the most enthusiastic of surrogates down the homestretch.)
It wasn’t any of that, she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday. Witness this bizarre exchange:
“The moment you bring a gun onto the House floor in violation of rules, you put everyone around you in danger. It is irresponsible, it is reckless, but beyond that it is the violation of rules,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC).
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) January 22, 2021
“Yeah, you know, I think we also had very real security concerns as well, as you mentioned earlier,” Ocasio-Cortez told Cuomo. “We still don’t yet feel safe around other members of Congress and—”
“How many are ‘we?’” Cuomo asked.
“I think a very considerable amount,” Ocasio-Cortez responded. “A lot of members do not feel safe. In fact, just today–”
“You really think that colleagues of yours in Congress may do you dirty?” Cuomo said.
“Yes, well, one just tried to bring a gun on the floor of the House today,” she responded. “I believe it was Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland. He tried to bring in a gun on to the House floor. For individuals who don’t know, guns are not allowed in the District of Columbia.
“And certainly the House floor is, there are separate House rules that prohibit the bringing in of firearms. Now, these are rules that date back to the Civil War. And these are individuals that are trying to sneak firearms either illegally or in direct violation of House rules. Why does a member of Congress need to sneak a gun on to the House floor?”
Even if Harris, a Republican who’s now in his sixth term in Congress, brought the gun on the floor for his own protection, AOC said “the impact is to put all 435 Members of Congress in danger.”
“He tried to hand off his gun to another member, who didn’t have a license, and any responsible gun owner knows that you don’t just hand off your gun to another individual. You have to clear it, etc.” she continued.
“And that just goes to show, it doesn’t matter what your intention is, if you are irresponsible, if you are trying to break rules, you’re trying to sneak a firearm, on to the floor of the House, I don’t care if you accidentally set it off, I don’t care if you intentionally set it off, I don’t care if you don’t set it off at all, you are put — you are endangering the lives of members of Congress.”
There’s a lot wrong with this rambling explanation. For starters, members of Congress can bring guns into the District of Columbia, and can have a gun in the Capitol, according to The Washington Post, provided they’re either transporting the weapon or storing it in their office and the firearm is unloaded and securely wrapped. More to the point, the Harris incident took place the day after the inauguration so it really wasn’t germane.
Finally, everyone who wanted to attend the Biden swearing-in had sufficient security there.
How do I know this? Because literally everyone who wanted to see how secure Washington, D.C., was on Jan. 20 saw it:
Three days to Inauguration… (feat. Wally) pic.twitter.com/xe8epYwasu
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 17, 2021
#BREaKING Here’s video of National Guard troops running a few moments ago after the Capitol was locked down due to a security threat.
It appears that the “threat” was actually a fire several blocks. Thankfully, there is no ongoing threat. pic.twitter.com/2XVbManHaE
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) January 18, 2021
I spotted these National Guard troops at a normal Washington street corner not even near the Capitol. So many streets have been closed. It reminds me of the war zones I saw in Baghdad or Mosul or Falluja. So sad. pic.twitter.com/la1Ixiva0D
— Wolf Blitzer (@wolfblitzer) January 15, 2021
This is more than enough security to keep Ocasio-Cortez and every Democrat safe from Rep. Andy Harris — or Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, another target of AOC’s ire. Reposting the clip of Taylor Greene on CNN, she referenced a political advertisement by the controversial Georgia Republican during her campaign:
GOP lawmakers campaigned with images of them cocking guns next to photos of myself,
Now they are trying to violate DC law and House rules to sneak guns onto the House floor two weeks after a white supremacist insurrection that killed 5 people.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 22, 2021
This is again inaccurate, and not just because Harris and Greene are different people who did different things that apparently made AOC feel unsafe.
She’s talking about this:
Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon devotee and frontrunner for a Georgia Congress seat, posted a photo of herself holding an AR-15 while saying she wants to go on the “offense” against women in Congress known as the Squad: https://t.co/uO60dUAQaj pic.twitter.com/oI7jaq2YGy
— faracity (@bajinka222) September 5, 2020
Greene is a popular Republican among Democrats, mostly because she’s frequently used to caricature the party. A freshman from a reliably red district, Greene’s support for QAnon is reliably mentioned in the first paragraph of virtually every story written about her in the mainstream media.
While that’s not irrelevant while evaluating Greene’s character, the advertisement is. Greene announced in advance that she wasn’t going to be present at the inauguration, according to Newsweek. (This is little surprise, considering she filed articles of impeachment against Biden on his first full day in office.)
So Greene wouldn’t have been around to endanger Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. And Harris skipped the inauguration, too, according to The Washington Post, because, a spokesman said, he “just wanted to avoid Washington that day.”
Even if the two representatives were present, they weren’t going to be allowed to have firearms at the inauguration. According to Axios, the United States has between 60,000 to 70,000 troops in the Middle East, an area of over 3.5 million square miles. There were 26,000 troops in the District of Columbia, all 68 square miles of it, on Inauguration Day.
The implication that that force couldn’t keep Ocasio-Cortez safe is an insult to our National Guardsmen as well as an insult to our intelligence. If she didn’t want to be there, fine, that’s her right.
She shouldn’t expect us to buy that she was shaking in trepidation because any of the 261 Republicans in both houses of Congress are going to, as Chris Cuomo put it, do her dirty.
And she shouldn’t be insulting the country’s armed forces in the process.
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