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Democratic Lawmakers Give Emotional Testimony On Experiences Of Capitol at-tack

Democratic lawmakers spoke on the House flooring on Thursday, delivering emotional testimonies of their experiences on Jan. 6, the day that armed, pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who earlier this week gave a play-by-play of the moments she thought she was going to die in the course of the at-tack, organized a “special order” hour for almost a dozen lawmakers to talk to their very own trauma after surviving the riots. 

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) recounted how she needed to flee the identical Capitol twenty years earlier on Sept. 11, 2001, and noticed the smoke from the aircraft that hit the Pentagon. 

“We heard the words ‘hurry up, get out,’” Jackson Lee stated of the Jan. 6 at-tack on the Capitol. As she and different colleagues heard sho-oting, “we crouched and some of my good colleagues and I began to pray.” 

“White supremacy, insurrectionists and domestic terrorism will not prevail,” Jackson Lee stated of the rioters, a few of whom carried Confederate flags, hung nooses and wore racist symbols.

Speaking from the exact same room the place he and over a dozen colleagues needed to shelter on Jan. 6, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) described how lawmakers “had to take cover behind our seats” and “struggled to activate our gas masks.”

“We know the sound of the breaking glass, of the screams, of the furniture being moved in front of the doors,” Phillips stated. “We know what it feels like searching for something, anything to defend ourselves and realizing a pencil is about all we had … thinking that it’s a real possibility that we would not see our families and loved ones again.”

Phillips, who’s white, then choked up as he recounted how he had urged Democratic colleagues to combine with Republicans in order that they may be secure from the right-wing mob. 

“I realized blending in was not an option for my colleagues of color,” Phillips stated. “I’m sorry. For I had never understood, really understood, what privilege really means.” 

Other Democratic lawmakers have been moved to tears as they described an armed mob descending on lawmakers as they have been certifying the U.S. election outcomes. Five folks died within the mayhem, together with a Capitol Police officer. 

Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, one of many first Muslim girls elected to Congress, broke into tears as she recounted how she’s repeatedly obtained dea-th threats since being in workplace, together with on her first day as a congresswoman. 

“I didn’t even get sworn in yet and someone wanted me de-ad,” the Democrat stated, including how extra threats got here through the years, together with one mentioning her son by title. “The trauma from just being here, existing as a Muslim, is so hard.”

While Tlaib was not on the Capitol in the course of the Jan. 6 at-tack, she spoke of how she worries “every day” for the lives of her employees, a few of whom are queer or  Black and one in all whom wears a hijab. “I urge my colleagues to please take what happened on Jan. 6 seriously,” she stated.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) — who’s a longtime activist for Black liberation and who wore a masks printed with the title of Breonna Taylor, a Black girl kil-led at dwelling by police in Kentucky final yr — condemned the “white supremacist at-tack on our nation’s capital.” 

Bush stated she was within the House gallery on Jan. 6 when she left to see what was occurring exterior and noticed a crowd approaching. She fled to her workplace, the place she watched on tv because the insurrectionists breached the doorways.

Bush used her time on the House flooring on Thursday to send a message to her Republican colleagues:

“If we cannot stand up to white supremacy in this moment, as representatives, then why did you run for office?” Bush requested. “How can we trust that you will address the suffering that white supremacy causes on a day-to-day basis in the shadows if you can’t address the white supremacy that happened right in front of you in your house?” 

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Penn.) learn a letter signed by almost 400 congressional employees members “because they don’t often have a voice on this floor.”

“Our workplace was attacked by a violent mob trying to stop the election vote count. That mob was incited by former President Donald Trump and his allies, some of whom we pass in the hallways,” the staffers wrote. “As the mob smashed through barricades, broke doors and windows and charged into the Capitol … many of us hid behind chairs, under desks, or barricaded ourselves inside offices.” 

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), who locked himself in his workplace together with his staff in the course of the rebel, spoke of the “traumatic experience” of leaving the constructing that night time and seeing bloodstains the place somebody had been shot.

Ocasio-Cortez, whose emotional account was dismissed by her Republican colleagues, condemned those that “are already demanding that we move on, or worse, attempting to minimize, discredit or belittle the accounts of survivors.” 

“They send a tremendously damaging message to survivors of trauma across the country,” Ocasio-Cortez stated, “that what they experienced wasn’t bad enough.”

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