Dems Should Follow AOC’s Lead

Congressional Democrats are currently working to remove Donald Trump from office as soon as possible. President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration is just a week away, but having Trump in office is a danger to the safety of elected officials and the country. Still, some Dems are half-stepping—Biden chief among them—calling for unity and showing deference to elected Republicans.

New York Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez isn’t.

On an Instagram live stream Tuesday night, Ocasio-Cortez laid into Trump’s seditious supporters and Republican sycophants in Congress. The short version of her message was that the GOP has nowhere to hide — you’re either on the side of democracy or the side of the mob. Anyone who voted against certifying election results (and implicitly helped rouse the mob riot of Capitol Hill) and shows more sympathy toward Trump insurrectionists than they do toward the American rule of law simply doesn’t belong in Congress.

This is infinitely better than any Democratic or Republican call for unity, and in fairness, many are heeding the message. House Dems moved to vote on impeaching Trump today, with House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi employing much of the same rhetoric as Ocasio-Cortez. Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and several other Republicans have voiced her support for impeachment (with Cheney now facing calls from Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan to step down). This is no longer a question of party politics—it’s a question of how seriously you took the events of Jan. 6 and whether you’re willing to let the man at its center get away with it.

Ocasio-Cortez has good reason to take it seriously—on the same Instagram live stream, she explained that someone leaked her whereabouts to rioters on Jan. 6 and she feared for her life, explaining she couldn’t say more due to ongoing investigations. On Tuesday night, the Boston Globe reported that the panic buttons in fellow Squad member Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s office had been mysteriously ripped out. And today, some elected Republicans say they would fear for their lives if they vote for impeachment. Surely that’s an excuse for some, but it’s pretty hard to think of a reason a president with bloodthirsty traitorous supporters should remain in power for even another day.

There’s no reason for Democrats to hold back and no downside if they don’t. Given the same set of circumstances, of course, Republicans would be going scorched earth. They’d use this opportunity to expel Democratic elected officials, hold an impeachment trial, and completely reform the government in their image. Democrats almost certainly won’t use their majorities to do the same, but showing some backbone in calling out seditious Republicans, including the president, is a start.