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Fact check: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not claim that she was in the Capitol during siege, nor that rioters entered her office

In an Instagram Live broadcast on Feb. 1, Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, popularly known as AOC, described her experience during the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Some social media users pointed out that the congresswoman’s office is located in a building near the Capitol that was not breached during the insurrection and suggested she had lied about her whereabouts on Jan. 6 or that she said rioters stormed her office. These claims are false: in the video, Ocasio-Cortez said she was in her office near the Capitol and that she feared for her life prior to discovering it was a Capitol police officer who had banged on her office door.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) walks through the U.S. Capitol during a vote in the U.S. House of Representives on a Democratic-backed resolution that would punish U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for her incendiary remarks supporting violence against Democrats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 4, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Examples of posts claiming that Ocasio-Cortez lied about being in the Capitol during the insurrection can be found here and here .

Ocasio-Cortez's video is visible on Instagram here (here) and on YouTube (here).

Ocasio-Cortez does not say she was in the Capitol building during the moments of the siege, but in her office, which is in the Cannon House Office Building near the Capitol (here).

The New York Representative begins the hour-and-a-half video talking about the trauma she felt after the Capitol siege and revealing she is a sexual assault survivor (timestamp 5:30, here ). She then describes feeling tensions increase in Washington D.C. and how protesters began showing up near Congress on Monday, Jan. 4 (timestamp 17:00).

On Jan. 6, she says Capitol police leadership told congressmembers they all had to be at the Capitol Complex by 9 a.m. (timestamp 32:40). A map of this area can be seen here . She says she and a staffer (“Gee”) were in her office that morning around 9 a.m. and that she went for her second COVID-19 vaccine shot later that morning prior to the electoral vote due later that day.

At timestamp 35:36 she specifies, “for you all to know, there’s the Capitol Hill Complex, but members of Congress – except for the speaker and other very high ranking ones – don’t actually work in that building with the dome [the Capitol that was stormed]. There’s buildings right next to the dome, and that’s where our actual offices are.”

She goes on to outline a timeline of events leading up to the siege. She says she headed for her vaccine around noon where the House physician was (unspecified location), then walked back to her office afterward. At timestamp 38:55 she says that she and her staffer “head back to my office, sit back down, I go back to my office, Gee is in the legislative office.”

Ocasio-Cortez never said rioters who entered her office in the video testimony, but rather described fearing for her life in the moment due to the presence of the unidentified police officer in her office that day.

Starting around the 41:20 timestamp, she recalls ordering lunch for herself and her staffer around 1 p.m. when she heard loud banging on her office door and a man’s voice shouting: “Where is she?” She says she hid in her office bathroom, where she continued to hear the same shouts, describing the scene as the moment she “thought everything was over.”

At 49:00 minutes in, Ocasio-Cortez says that once the unidentified man was inside her office, her staffer told her it was safe to come out of the bathroom, revealing that the person who had been banging on the door and looking for her was a Capitol police officer.

She says that because the officer did not identify himself, she “didn’t know if he was there to help us or hurt us”.

According to Ocasio-Cortez, the officer instructed her and her staffer to head to another building. Based on the House member’s description of spending the rest of the insurrection sheltering with Rep. Katie Porter in her office (here), the new building to which Ocasio-Cortez and her staffer fled was the Longworth House Office Building (here).

As shown here on an overhead visual of the Capitol grounds provided by Curbed, rioters breached neither the Longworth House Office Building nor the Cannon House Office Building.

VERDICT

False. In a Feb. 1 Instagram Live broadcast, Ocasio-Cortez did not say she was in the Capitol during the siege on Jan. 6, nor did she say protesters entered her office.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  . 

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