Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jason Crow Friday insisted it is important that lawmakers be able to speak out publicly about the trauma they experienced during the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol after Ocasio-Cortez faced criticism accusing her of exaggerating her experiences that day for political reasons. 

“I think one of the things that we’ve learned, especially in counseling services offered to House members, is that telling our stories and retelling it especially right after the events transpired is a really important part to healing and getting through it,” Ocasio, D-N.Y., said on “CBS This Morning.”

The New York congresswoman has come under fire by critics, in particular, Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., who pointed out that she was not in the main building of the Capitol complex when the attacks were going on and accused her of “not dealing with reality.”

Crow, D-Colo., a combat veteran who was photographed during the crisis comforting Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., on the House floor during the riots, added that trauma is “outside the realm of normal human experience.”

“We have over 20 veterans a day that kill themselves because of the stigma that prevents them from getting help and other survivors deal with that stigma, too,” said Crow. “It has to stop. That’s why what Alexandria has been doing is so important to help destigmatize that.”

Crow said that he had never thought that he’d be in a situation like he’d been in Iraq and Afghanistan, of feeling again that he would have to fight for his life. 

He added that the “revictimization of survivors” like Ocasio-Cortez is “horrific,” and backed up her fears of attack even though she had not been hiding in the main Capitol building 

“I was in the gallery, trapped for about 20 minutes, but I was receiving notifications that the entire capitol complex had been overrun, that there was a lockdown of the House office buildings,” he said. “We were all receiving notifications that the rioters were everywhere, that the Capitol Police were overwhelmed. So in all of our eyes, the entire situation was chaos. And that was the experience that we were all living through.”


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