Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to resign or face expulsion from Congress, accusing the Republican lawmakers of fomenting Wednesday's violent riots at the U.S. Capitol.
"Sen. Cruz, you must accept responsibility for how your craven, self-serving actions contributed to the deaths of four people yesterday. And how you fundraised off this riot," Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted on Thursday. "Both you and Senator Hawley must resign. If you do not, the Senate should move for your expulsion."
The New York Democrat's comments came one day after a rally that began initially with the purpose of supporting President Trump descended into a mob that stormed the Capitol during the certification of the Electoral College vote, forcing lawmakers, staff and reporters to shelter in place in both the House and Senate. One woman was shot and later died, and three other individuals died from "medical emergencies."
In social media posts later removed by Facebook and Twitter, Trump – who has maintained, without evidence, that the election was rigged – told the rioters "we love you" and "you're very special," but asked them to "stay peaceful" and later to "go home." Early Thursday morning, Trump promised there would be an "orderly transition of power" on Jan. 20 when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
Cruz slammed the violence as a "despicable act of terrorism" and "a shocking assault on our democratic system," while Hawley, who is from Missouri, called for the prosecution of protesters who attacked police and broke the law.
While the majority of Democrats, and some Republicans, blamed Trump for inspiring the siege of the Capitol, others accused Cruz and Hawley of promoting sedition and lawlessness by repeating the president's baseless rhetoric that the election was rigged.
Cruz has not parroted Trump's unfounded claims about ballot manipulation and fraud, but he did emerge as one of the two most ardent advocates in the Senate for challenging the certification of Electoral College votes alongside Hawley. He led a group of 11 senators demanding a 10-day delay to audit the election results and an emergency investigation, though no evidence of widespread fraud has emerged in the two months since the election.
The senators eventually withdrew their objections for Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, but Hawley co-signed the opposition to Pennsylvania once the Senate reconvened in the wake of the riot.
Congress formally certified Biden's Electoral College victory early Thursday morning.
Cruz fired back at Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday, calling her a "liar" for conflating his plan to object to the Electoral College tally with the attack on the Capitol and said that he would not resign.
"@AOC You are a liar," he tweeted. "Leading a debate in the Senate on ensuring election integrity is doing our jobs, and it’s in no way responsible for the despicable terrorists who attacked the Capitol yesterday. And sorry, I ain’t going anywhere."
He continued: "When you and your socialist buddies try to massively raise taxes, when you try to pass the green new deal & destroy millions of jobs, when you push for amnesty, when you try to pack the Supreme Court w/ activists to undermine our Constitutional rights... I will fight that every step & stand with the People."
Ocasio-Cortez was not alone in her criticism of the GOP lawmakers: Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., said Hawley has "blood on his hands" and has said she will introduce a resolution calling for the immediate expulsion of the duo.