Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has opened up about the level of threats her office receives daily in a New York Times article examining the increased amount of threats members of Congress have received in recent years
The representative for New York’s 14th congressional district said it took her two-and-a-half years to receive the additional requested she needed for her safety. She also expressed concern that members of Congress who are not high-ranking are more likely to be in harm’s way.
“In Queens, a man who had traveled across the country waited in a cafe across the street from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office to confront her, part of a near-constant stream of threats and harassment that has prompted the congresswoman to switch her sleeping location at times and seek protection from a 24-hour security detail,” the report reads.
After Capitol Police saw a perceived “threatening” tweet directed at Ocasio-Cortez, officials granted her extra security, although she didn’t quite understand why they granted her the additional protection at that time.
“When I saw what it was, I was like, ‘I’ve gotten so much worse,'” she said. “Why now?”
The congresswoman, who has been in office since 2019, said that party leaders informed her that more death threats than any other member in Congress except Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Her office has had trouble keeping up with the amount of threats, which have since increased since the riot at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, she said.
Ocasio-Cortez has now implemented a system that includes the furnishing of a daily document containing images of individuals who have issued threats in order to easily point out and avoid such people, she added. Last year, her office spent over $120,000 on security.
“You are now extra tasked with providing and coming up with your own financial resources for your own safety,” she said.
The Capitol Police adheres to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of a threat, which represents “statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.”