The frequency of the death threats reportedly seemed to be in tune with Fox News rhetoric, which loves to depict her as a socialist villainess.
After over a year of being repeatedly mocked and insulted by the President of the United States, his cronies, and some of her own party members, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently revealed for the first time that she gets regular death threats, too. The 31-year-old, who is the youngest woman to have ever been elected into Congress, opened up about the near-constant threat of danger she's experienced in a new profile in Vanity Fair. The Congresswoman said that the frequency of the death threats seemed to be in tune with Fox News rhetoric, which loves to depict her as a socialist villainess.
Presenting our December cover star: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez! Two elections in, the congresswoman is still fighting the fight—and she’s as sure as she’s ever been.— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) October 28, 2020
Read the @AOC cover story now. Photograph by Tyler Mitchell. https://t.co/xAbI0YAekC pic.twitter.com/lEeKmw5mGh
According to the cover story, Ocasio Cortez had her first taste of the threat of danger that came with her public profile barely a month into her first term representing New York's 14th District. A Coast Guard lieutenant — and self-described white nationalist — was arrested in Maryland with a stockpile of guns and a plot to kill AOC, vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and others. Investigation revealed that his internet search history included "where in dc to [sic] congress live." He eventually pleaded guilty to federal drug and gun charges.
It was impt to me in this piece that as many people working on it as possible repped BIPOC, women, LGBT+ & working class experiences.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 28, 2020
👗 @walesbonner, #ChristopherJohnRogers, @LoeweOfficial
TY @VanityFairhttps://t.co/YIZxRaQxzJ pic.twitter.com/5DWaIVGJe2
Around the same time, AOC reportedly came home one day to find a man with a camera parked in a dark car outside. Although she ran to the back of a grocery store and hid for fear that she might be attacked, the man's presence made sense the following day when a right-wing outlet violated her basic rights to privacy by publishing paparazzi photos revealing her home address. Only after her office complained, did the publication blur her address. The Congresswoman revealed that the torrent of abuse has also been directed at her mother, Blanca, and her younger brother, Gabriel, among several others associated with her.
AOC lensed by Tyler Mitchell wearing Christopher John Rogers, LOEWE and Wales Bonner for Vanity Fair. pic.twitter.com/7xxRIeZESu— Ξvan Ross Katz (@evanrosskatz) October 28, 2020
While AOC's former dean at Boston University — who introduced her in a 2011 speech uploaded on YouTube — regularly receives emails calling him the N-word for "training" her, a designer behind her Cesar Chavez–inspired campaign posters has been frightened with death threats. Moreover, when President Donald Trump launches one of his verbal attacks on AOC (calling her everything from a "poor student" to a "wack job"), the Congresswoman's office is bombarded with calls, voicemails, and emails echoing the same language. "I used to wake up in the morning and literally get a stack of pictures that were forwarded by Capitol police or FBI. Like, 'These are the people who want to kill you today,'" she revealed.
"It's the epitome of being shaken to your core. Getting a phone call from the FBI saying, 'Hey, don't open your mail. They're mailing out bombs,'" her brother Gabriel added. AOC credits her "sisterhood" with fellow representatives Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib — a bond she calls "gift from God" — for being a constant source of support for her. "There have been many times, especially in the first six months, where I felt like I couldn’t do this like I didn’t know if I was going to be able to run for reelection," she admitted.
"There was a time where the volume of threats had gotten so high that I didn’t even know if I was going to live to my next term. Their sisterhood and their friendship, it’s not some political alliance. It’s a very deep, unconditional human bond," AOC added. She revealed that it was a friend's observation that giving up would have been "the point" of the threats, that helped her reach a turning point. "It’s to get you to destroy yourself so that they don’t have to destroy you," the friend had pointed out. The Congresswoman said this counsel helped her come to the following conclusion: "Okay, I'm not crazy. It's not that this is too much for me. It's that this is an environment with a very specific purpose."