Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDon't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery Ocasio-Cortez explains 'present' vote on Iron Dome Dingell fundraises off Greene altercation on Capitol steps MORE (D-N.Y.) said that a 60-second difference during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack could have ended in “a martial state.”
During an interview with Latino USA published Friday, the progressive firebrand described the ways in which former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence says he hopes conservative majority on Supreme Court will restrict abortion access Federal judge to hear case of Proud Boy alleged Jan. 6 rioter seeking release from jail The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems attempt to tie government funding, Ida relief to debt limit MORE's safety was jeopardized and the implications the attack could have had on the election certification process.
“Pence was taken out of the Senate chamber something like 60 seconds before these terrorists, insurrectionists got into the Senate chamber,” Ocasio-Cortez told the outlet's reporter, Maria Hinojosa.
“Mike Pence was the one person, arguably, that had one of the most important roles in making sure that procedurally the Electoral College counts went on as proceeded. Sixty seconds could have meant potentially the difference between what we have right now and a martial state,” she added.
In his role as vice president at the time, Pence presided over the Electoral College certification process as president of the Senate. His role in the process was largely ceremonial. However, his position presiding over the Senate garnered significant attention at the time after former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE falsely claimed on Twitter that Pence had the ability to "reject fraudulently chosen electors."
During the Capitol insurrection that ensued on Jan. 6, Trump's supporters stormed the building, breaching security, breaking windows and ransacking lawmakers' offices.
Pence was evacuated from the building shortly after rioters breached security.
Video footage taken on the day of the riot showed hoards of people in the building chanting “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”
Gallows with nooses were also made outside of the Capitol.
“If 60 seconds went differently, if a different door was opened, if a chair wasn't barricaded in a certain way, we could have a completely different reality right now. ... We don't want to acknowledge that that's how close we got, but that is how close we got,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Lawmakers barricaded themselves in rooms. One GOP lawmaker grabbed a sword and barricaded himself in a bathroom.
“The cycle has just been moved on, but it has deeply, deeply affected lawmaking, policy making. It has impacted the actual legislative process, the aftermath of it. And it's very quiet, it's not spoken about,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
A $1.9 billion bill to upgrade Capitol security was approved on Thursday in the aftermath of Jan. 6.
A commission was also approved in the House to further investigate the events of Jan. 6 and what led up to it.
Ocasio-Cortez has been vocal about her experience during the Capitol riot, recounting the day on Instagram live to followers in February. She said she hid in a Capitol bathroom.
"How I felt was, 'Not again. I'm not going to let this happen again,'" Ocasio-Cortez said during the livestream. "I'm not going to let it happen to me again. I'm not going to let it happen to the other people who've been victimized by this situation again. And I'm not gonna let this happen to our country."