Asked by a reporter if they would condemn the Antifa firebomb attack on a Tacoma, Washington ICE detention facility, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.,) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) refused.
On Saturday, 69-year-old Willem Van Spronsen was armed with a rifle when he approached the facility and threw flaming objects at buildings and ignited one vehicle. Police say he unsuccessfully tried to cause a propane tank to explode as well.
Van Spronsen was shot and killed by police. A manifesto he wrote included the phrase “I am Antifa” and said "I regret that I will miss the rest of the revolution," indicating that he expected to die in the attack.
The Seattle Antifascist Action group praised the man’s actions on Facebook, calling him “yet another martyr in the struggle against fascism.” In his manifesto, Van Spronsen referred to detention facilities as “concentration camps,” a comparison famously made by Ocasio-Cortez.
A reporter with the Canadian news outlet Rebel Media confronted Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Pressley in the hallways of their congressional office building to ask if they would condemn the attack. The three congresswomen, along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), have been dubbed “the Squad” for their joint progressive push to move the Democratic Party far to the left.
As Ocasio-Cortez strode down the hallway, answering reporters’ questions, Rebel Media asked her, “Will you condemn Antifa for the attack in Washington?”
“We will be making statements later today,” AOC replied, robotically repeating the phrase as the reporter continued to talk to her.
“It’s easy to condemn a terrorist attack,” he pointed out. “They firebombed an American facility. Will you condemn them? Do you feel like you have some responsibility in the attack with your rhetoric about concentration camps?”
Ocasio-Cortez refused to answer.
The same reporter asked Omar if she could condemn the Antifa attack. The congresswoman completely ignored him.
“Firebombing a concentration camp is kind of a laudable thing if it’s actually a concentration camp,” Rebel Media pointed out to Omar. “You must be happy they did it, no? Are you pleased? Should more people do it? It’s easy to say no.”
The congresswoman refused to acknowledge his existence.
Pressley also acted like the reporter wasn’t there as he asked her if she’d condemn the firebombing.
“Will you tell Americans not to attack, violently, ICE facilities?” he asked. “Just say no. It would be a very simple thing to say and would go a long way to tell Americans that you’re not sympathetic to Antifa. Are you sympathetic to Antifa? Are they your base? Are you worried that they’re not going to vote for you?
“Do you condemn Antifa for their violent attack against American law enforcement?”
Finally, Pressley replied, saying, “What I’m condemning is a lack of journalistic integrity. You are not respecting my physical space right now, and I’m going to ask you to step away.”