Jake Tapper questioned Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday’s State of the Union – challenging her on everything from the government shutdown to Rep. Matt Gaetz’s threat to replace Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The topic of discussion eventually shifted to Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), who activated the Cannon House Office fire alarm when Democrats attempted to postpone voting on the government funding package.
Bowman admitted to setting off the alarm but said he did it accidentally while trying to open a door. Tapper found the story a bit far-fetched. But not AOC.
“I think if you do see some of the photos of the signs, I think there’s something to be said about,” Ocasio-Cortez said. She defended her fellow New York representative, saying, “The exits normally open in that building were suddenly closed.”
“So he called 911 to report a fire?” Tapper inquired sarcastically.
Ocasio-Cortez countered that Bowman has apologized and is helping investigators with their inquiries. She continued her criticism with “whataboutism,” saying the Republicans didn’t demand George Santos’s expulsion a few months earlier, even though Santos had been indicted on 13 criminal counts. She said they are shielding someone who has lied to the American people, the United States House of Representatives, and congressional investigators, yet they hang out with and laugh with him on the House floor. AOC lamented that the GOP is bringing a motion to eject a member who, in a moment of panic, was trying to exit a vestibule.
On Monday, the Capitol Police updated the public on their ongoing investigation into the Saturday afternoon event, which they placed at noon; officers from the Capitol Police reportedly led the evacuation “floor by floor” as D.C. Fire and EMS arrived on the scene.
Without mentioning Bowman by name, the Capitol Police said, “A male was spotted trying to depart the door in the Cannon Building and then pulling the fire alarm that forced the evacuation.” According to the report, “clear language” signs explaining that the entrance was secured and identified as an emergency escape only had previously been posted by authorities.
The Republicans have opened an investigation into Bowman’s actions, accusing him of trying to obstruct the vote on purpose. They are also preparing to introduce a bill to have Bowman kicked out of the House for his behavior on Monday.
Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) announced she will introduce a resolution to oust Bowman from Congress.