(PresidentialHill.com)- New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made a big name for herself by being outspoken on issues that many would consider controversial or out of the box.
But, while she’s attracted a lot of positive attention, she’s also attracted a lot of negative attention, too.
The New York Times reported recently that AOC said her congressional office is having a very tough time keeping up with what she called an ‘”astronomical” level of threatening messages that are directed her way every day.
The Times’ story was part of an analysis the newspaper did about the increased number of threats Congress members have started to receive over the last few years, particularly following the Capitol riot on January 6 of 2021.
AOC, who’s serving in her second term in the House representing New York, said she worked for 2.5 years to obtain proper security from Capitol Police. She said this happened even though she had already been receiving a very high amount of threats that have only picked up recently.
According to AOC, the Capitol Police only granted her the additional protection she was requesting after they saw a tweet they believed to be “threatening.”
Despite being pleased that she was given the added security, AOC said she was “dumbfounded” by when the decision was made. As she explained to The Times:
“When I saw what it was, I was like, ‘I’ve gotten so much worse.’ Why now?”
The Times reported that the Capitol Police follows the interpretation of threats as laid out by the Supreme Court. This covers “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.”
AOC said that leaders of the Democratic Party have informed her that the number of threats her congressional office receives is more than just about any member of Congress. The only two exceptions, she said, are Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
It’s up to the aides stationed in AOC’s Washington, D.C., congressional office to determine whether the messages they have received are threatening in nature, after they must decipher what some of them mean. And many of these aides, as The Times reported, are fresh out of high school.
AOC has said that she’s taken her security into her own hands in some cases. One of the ways she does so is by asking her staff members produce a document every day that includes photos of men who’ve issued threatening messages to her, so that she might be able to more easily identify them if she sees them in passing and then avoid them.
The Times also reported that in just the last year, AOC has doled out more than $120,000 to pay for security protection.
She says she’s forced to pay for this on her own, because the system for protecting members of Congress favors those who have more seniority. As she explained:
“You are now tasked with providing and coming up with your own financial resources for your own safety.”