On January 6, a Texan Trump-supporter who attended the day’s Capitol riots tweeted to “Assassinate AOC.” The tweet was posted in response to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement of Donald Trump’s impeachment.
The man, Garret Miller, made similarly intentioned statements across various social media platforms. He posted a selfie on Facebook from inside the Capitol Rotunda, commenting, “just wanted to incriminate myself a little lol.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responded via Twitter, saying, “Well, you did!”
Via Instagram, Miller admitted that he had a rope in his bag on the day of the attack. He tweeted during the siege that “next time we bring the guns.”
He later said in a Facebook thread of a US Capitol Police officer who fatally injured a rioter that “We [are] going to get a hold of [the USCP officer] and hug his neck with a nice rope,” and that he “deserves to die.”
Miller was arrested on five charges including death threats and trespassing on Capitol grounds. His lawyer, Clint Broden, argued that Miller’s words were merely a “misguided effort to show his support” for Donald Trump and that he “certainly regrets what he did,” ABC News and CNN report. “He has the full support of his family and has always been a law-abiding citizen,” Broden added in a statement to the New York Times.
Miller’s Twitter account has since been suspended and his Facebook profile has been removed.
Rep. AOC took to social media to express her reaction to the death threats, tweeting, “On one hand you have to laugh, and on the other know that the reason they were this brazen is because they thought they were going to succeed,” and saying in an Instagram livestream, “I thought I was going to die.” In an interview on January 10, she reiterated that “we came close to half of the House nearly dying on Wednesday.”
Television broadcaster Michael Tracey implied an overreaction from Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, tweeting that “you can always find ‘threats’ on the internet if you really want to.”
Another user agreed, replying, “You aren’t allowed to threaten politicians but they are allowed to threaten[…]you.”
In response, an anonymous LCHS student points out that “it’s difficult for most people to imagine ourselves in her position. She’s a controversial politician whose location and personal information are all out for the world to see. It’s not like these threats are being made with no basis; an assassination is plausible, even if unlikely.
“I think what we should have learned from the Capitol riots on January 6 is that if people are threatening violence, we need to take those threats seriously. Donald Trump tweeted in December to meet him at the Capitol on January 6. His followers had been planning the attack for weeks. Nobody took it seriously until after the fact, and well, look what happened.
“Now that the threats have become personal to AOC, I believe she has every right to be scared and frustrated. Her life is on the line now, and it’s not any of our business to measure the severity of her situation.”