Democratic lawmaker warned AOC of possible violence before January 6: book

  • Rep. Abigail Spanberger was concerned about possible violence in the days leading up to January 6, 2021.
  • She warned Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that she was “a very recognizable target”, says a new book.
  • She urged the progressive lawmaker to “Wear sneakers, dress up – don’t look like you”.

A former intelligence officer, Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, worried about possible violence in the days leading up to January 6, 2021.

At the time, supporters of then-President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election planned to demonstrate that day outside the U.S. Capitol as Congress performed a typically pro forma duty, certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

Spanberger feared that other Democrats would be targeted and was especially concerned about “highly recognizable progressive women,” including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and others who had been “demonized by the right,” according to the book “This Will Not Pass”, by New York Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin. Insider obtained an advance copy of the book ahead of its publication on Tuesday.

The Virginia Democrat called Ocasio-Cortez to urge her to take precautions, a remarkable gesture given that the two women represent “the enormous chasm within the Democratic Party” between centrists and leftists, respectively, Burns and Martin wrote.

“You’re a very recognizable target,” Spanberger told Ocasio-Cortez. “Drive to work and make sure you dress in a way that’s less recognizable than it might otherwise be.”

“Wear sneakers, dress up – don’t look like you,” she told the authors.

Ocasio-Cortez later told CNN that she feared she would be raped and killed on January 6, when pro-Trump insurgents stormed the US Capitol in their failed attempts to overturn the election.

“White supremacy and patriarchy are very linked in many ways,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN’s Dana Bash. “There’s a lot of sexualization in this violence, and I didn’t think I was going to get killed. I thought other things were going to happen to me too.”

In an essay for The 19th, Spanberger gave a moving account of being on Capitol Hill that day — and arriving prepared.

“I had anticipated that it might be a bigger engagement day, so I dressed accordingly, in pants,” she said. “The old CIA mentality. If necessary, I could be indiscernible just by taking off my blazer.”

She even joked with her husband in text messages about her hair being in a ponytail, “which, to me, means I’m ready to fight.”

A spokesperson for Spanberger told Insider that the lawmaker’s CIA track record “brings a unique perspective to Congress.”

“In the days leading up to January 6, 2021, Representative Spanberger was concerned about the potential for violence around Capitol Hill. dangerous,” the spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the lawmaker has extended the advice to “reduce” its office staff.

“As the insurrection unfolded on January 6 and Congresswoman Spanberger was trapped with other members in the House Gallery, she continued to offer advice – such as asking her colleagues to remove their Congressional pins,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez did not return Insider’s request for comment.

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