After being called out for exaggerating the optics of her arrest, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y) denied she pretended she was in handcuffs.
During a protest outside the Supreme Court, Ocasio-Cortez and 16 other lawmakers were arrested, including fellow Squad member Rep. Omar Ilhan (D-Minn.) and progressive Democrats Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI.) and Cori Bush (D-MO.).
The arrest for blocking traffic was prompted by protesters sitting in the middle of the street as an act of civil disobedience.
As the media filmed police warning protestors they would be arrested and their subsequent arrest, Ocasio-Cortez was among 34 escorted by law enforcement from the street to a taped-off area.
Ocasio, who keeps her hands behind her back in what appears to be handcuffs, obliges the police officer escorting her as she smiles toward the crowd and cameras; she then raises a fist in solidarity, revealing she hadn’t been handcuffed.
After footage of the arrest surfaced on Twitter, many were quick to point out how Ocasio-Cortez was more interested in “performative” politics than policy.
Republican Rep. Nancy Mace (S.C.) tweeted, “Politics has become performative art. So of course @aoc fakes being in handcuffs. Performance, not policy, is the name of the game up here.”
In response, AOC tweeted: “No faking here. Putting your hands behind your back is a best practice while detained, handcuffed or not, to avoid escalating charges like resisting arrest. But given how you lied about a fellow rape survivor for ‘points,’ as you put it to me, I don’t expect much else from you.”
The second half of her retort is a call back to an earlier encounter the New York Democratic — a sexual assault survivor — had with Mace — also a rape survivor — who claimed in February 2021 that AOC was exaggerating her fears of being raped on Jan. 6, 2021.
However, not everyone was quick to believe AOC as other arrested lawmakers continued protesting — waving flags and hoisting up placards — while arrested.