Accusations by AOC, others against Republicans on riot, covid-19 just create more divisiveness

By Gary Abernathy

In today’s political environment, nothing seems off limits when it comes to outrageous accusations when they are made against Republicans. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) — AOC for short — is letting everyone know that during the January 6 Capitol riot, “she worried her own colleagues in Congress might divulge her location to the mob outside, putting her at risk for kidnapping or worse,” according to The Washington Post. In an Instagram Live video, AOC also accused some of her congressional colleagues of holding “white supremacist beliefs.”

AOC claimed she found somewhere else to shelter because “there were QAnon and white-supremacist sympathizers and, frankly, white-supremacist members of Congress in that extraction point who I know and who I have felt would disclose my location and would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, et cetera. So I didn’t even feel safe around other members of Congress.”

AOC wasn’t alone in her disdain for the company she was being asked to keep. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) wrote Tuesday on Twitter, “The second I realized our ‘safe room’ from the violent white supremacist mob included treasonous, white supremacist, anti masker Members of Congress who incited the mob in the first place, I exited.”

On top of that, Pressley and others are blaming Republicans who weren’t wearing masks for the fact that some who were sheltering have since tested positive for covid-19. That doesn’t make much sense. Because of their stated worries about sheltering with “white supremacists,” doesn’t it seem likely that Democrats chose to huddle closely with other Democrats and remained at least six feet away from their Republican counterparts? At the very least, it sounds like they didn’t stay close to them for the cumulative 15 minutes experts say is necessary to be in danger. It seems more likely they contracted the virus from a fellow Democrat rather than from the Republicans they were avoiding.

How is that possible if Democrats were wearing masks, you ask? A study reported by the American Institute of Physics makes clear the fallacy of assuming that masks offer guaranteed protection. “Wearing a mask may not be enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 without social distancing,” according to the study. “Researchers tested how different types of masks impacted the spread of droplets that carry the coronavirus when we cough or sneeze. Every material tested dramatically reduced the number of droplets that were spread. But at distances of less than 6 feet, enough droplets to potentially cause illness still made it through several of the materials.” Out of courtesy, Republicans in Congress should wear their masks. But mask-wearing Democrats could have spread the virus.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) made a similar point, saying in an email to The Washington Post, “It is absolutely ridiculous and insane to blame those of us who did not have COVID or symptoms. The blame lies squarely on Nancy Pelosi and the positive COVID members bringing COVID in the Capitol! It’s absurd to say they caught it during the safe room.”

The attack on the Capitol was a horrendous event, equally terrifying for both Democratic and Republican members of Congress and their staffs who were forced to seek shelter from the mob. At a time when we all should be doing everything we can to lower the level of bombastic rhetoric, a few Democratic members of Congress accusing their Republican colleagues of being white supremacists and blaming them for spreading covid-19 is unfortunate. It creates even more divisiveness, acrimony and distrust at a time when we need more unity and respect.