AOC says Republicans in Congress are OK with harassing women colleagues of color

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the Republican caucus in Congress accept the harassment of members of Congress, particularly women of color. She made the remarks in a press conference announcing a resolution to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert of her committee assignments after the Colorado Republican made anti-Muslim comments against Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

Video Transcript

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: This shouldn't need a press conference. We shouldn't need to be gathered here today. We shouldn't have to be asking for the bare minimum of protection and respect of our colleague, our Representative Ilhan Omar. You know, I think a lot of times people deduce these threats and the result of what happens from this incredibly violent, incredibly racist rhetoric that is accepted. And I would argue at this point, the pattern is now established that Leader McCarthy encourages and is accepting of this targeting, particularly of women of color, in the United States Congress.

You know, people think this is just emails. They think it's just angry voicemails. Because the people inflicting this kind of violence and aggression do not have to live with the consequences of it. They don't have to ride around in a 20,000-pound armored truck and need six people to go with them just so that they can go to the grocery store because so many people are now trying to target a member due to the Republican Caucus's acceptance of this targeting.

And at this point, it is not even a small number of this caucus. Because Representative Gosar, just last month, aired all of this about trying viol-- you know, aired something incredibly violent. We all know what happened. And almost the entire caucus voted to protect him, except for two Republican members.

Are we surprised at this escalation now, at this targeting of Representative Ilhan Omar? Because this mirrors what is happening in our society, where the most vulnerable people and most vulnerable communities whose bigotry, when it's directed at them, is most often dismissed. That it starts with them. And when we accept that and look the other way and don't enforce the same rules for everybody, it will make it worse.

I represent thousands of young women. I represent thousands of Black, Latino, and Muslim communities and immigrant communities and refugees in New York City. So many women will have their hijabs ripped off on public transit because of the example that Leader McCarthy and the Republican Caucus is setting right now. We have a responsibility to show this country that bigotry is unacceptable and to treat the hallowed halls of this Capitol with the bare respect that any corporate HR office would do anywhere else in this country.

This shouldn't be about politics. This shouldn't be about Democrat or Republican. This should be about what is completely unacceptable in any context anywhere in this country. Representative Boebert, whatever her intentions may be for her racism and flagrant bigotry, needs to experience a consequence for her actions, whether she's seeking it out or not.

Because when we inconsistently apply consequences to bigotry, we invite more people to test these boundaries. It's pretty simple. You threaten a colleague or you incite incredibly racist rhetoric against a specific colleague of yours in the United States Congress, you do not have committees. This should be simple. This should be easy. Unfortunately, the Republican Caucus is not making it easy, but we should.