- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Thursday that "the systems are not working" to keep people safe at the US Capitol.
- Her comments came after a man videotaped himself harassing her with lewd and racist comments.
- US Capitol Police said his comments, "although inappropriate, are not criminal."
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Thursday that "the systems are not working" to keep people safe at the US Capitol after the Capitol Police released a statement defending its decision not to intervene when a man sexually harassed her in racist terms on the Capitol steps.
Outside the House chamber, the New York Democrat asked to speak to women and LGBT reporters to warn them about their safety after the far-right troll videotaped himself on Wednesday approaching her and making lewd and racist comments about her body.
"This is not a place that is designed to protect women," she told reporters. "It's not a place that's designed to protect LGBT people, and I fear for all of the journalists here."
She added that "the core security breakdowns" during the Capitol riot "have never been addressed — the communications breakdowns, the procedural breakdowns."
Earlier Thursday, Capitol Police released a statement noting that the man who harassed the congresswoman had not broken the law.
"Last night a man outside the U.S. Capitol Building recorded a video of himself making crude comments to a Member of Congress. The comments, although inappropriate, are not criminal," the statement read. "In the video, the man never threatened or touched the Congresswoman. Out of an abundance of caution, our officers stopped the man and ran his information, which did not show any warrants."
Ocasio-Cortez told reporters her office had to call Capitol Police five times "to get them to ask for this person's information."
"They and many of these people were sassing our office back, asking us why we want this information," she said. "This is not about us having this information. This is about mitigating a threat. And, you know, we have to keep ourselves safe here because certain people will be safe, but not all of us are safe."
Far-right activist and BlazeTV Contributor Alex Stein, a favorite of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, posted a video in which he could be heard yelling at Ocasio-Cortez, calling her his "favorite big booty Latina" and a "hot tamale," while accusing her of wanting to "kill babies."
Ocasio-Cortez, who reposted the video, on Thursday called him "extraordinarily sexually explicit and rude." She said he works for an organization, Blaze TV, that has press passes to the House. Though he is not currently credentialed, she said, there's nothing to stop him from getting a press pass. Ocasio-Cortez is correct that in the past, Blaze TV has had reporters formally credentialed to cover Capitol Hill. But Stein does not have those press credentials.
"The individual involved in an incident with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outside the Capitol does not hold a Capitol Hill press credential under the Radio-Television Correspondents' Galleries," the the Congressional Radio-Television Correspondents' Executive Committee said in a statement. "The committee believes the behavior exhibited in this video is inappropriate and does not reflect the journalistic behavior exhibited by our members."
—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 14, 2022
She told the reporters, "Do not trust that things are okay, do not trust that there is an emergency procedure that will protect everybody."
"I'm concerned about the food staff, I'm concerned about the the custodial staff, I'm concerned about the real fundamental lack of procedures that have still not been addressed," she said.
Asked whether she was speaking about the harassment incident or a potential January 6 event, Ocasio-Cortez said "it's about both."
She said there is a deeply funded network using "using right wing extremist media operations in order to facilitate attacks like this."
Stein, she said, was "not a random person, and it's being treated as such. And it's dangerous. The normalization of this event and the dismissiveness is dangerous."
On Wednesday night, Ocasio-Cortez argued there needs to be "accountability" for members of the Capitol Police force who appeared sympathetic to January 6 rioters during the attack on the building.
"Remember how there was tons of footage and evidence of officers & others inside on 1/6 supporting insurrectionists, but then everyone decided it was too politically risky to investigate thoroughly so they brushed under the rug and now we still have no idea who or what is safe?" she tweeted.