Ayanna Pressley’s panic buttons ‘torn out’ from Congressional office

Sarah Groh, her chief of staff, said she, Rep. Pressley and Pressley's husband barricaded her office entrance.

The Massachusetts Congressional delegation gave an interview with The Boston Globe in which they recounted their fear during the Capitol insurrection last Wednesday. 

They said Capitol Police had provided them with basic safety instructions for the day, a three-part directive: “Arrive early, remain indoors, and use the underground network of tunnels to move throughout the Capitol complex.” 

Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) questions Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a virtual House Financial Services Committee oversight hearing in early December. (Getty Images)

In her interview, Sarah Groh, who serves as chief of staff for Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, said she, Pressley and Pressley’s husband, Conan Harris, barricaded the entrance to the representative’s office “with furniture and water jugs.” 

Groh said she looked for the special panic buttons in the office, but “every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit.” She said they had used the buttons before, and no rationale existed why they would not be there. 

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According to Groh, she, Pressley and Harris were escorted to another secure location, and the trio was wary not just of rioters but of officers they didn’t know. 

“The experiences of Wednesday were harrowing and, unfortunately, very familiar in the deepest and most ancestral way,” Pressley told Joy Reid on MSNBC. “And so, of course, I’m fearful, but that fear is not new.”

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Pressley, as noted, by The Globe had a deeper reason for terror at a violent, mostly-maskless mob backing President Donald Trump: Her labeling as part of “The Squad” in Congress alongside fellow Democratic firebrands Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar and the coronavirus pandemic, at which she’s especially vulnerable to infection and having serious complications because she has alopecia, an autoimmune disorder.

Fellow “Squad” member Ocasio-Cortez told viewers on Instagram Live that she had a “close encounter” with insurgents and felt like she “might die.” AOC reportedly could not share more information out of security concerns. 

Read More: Cori Bush slams GOP colleagues who refused metal detectors

“I cannot stop thinking about the ‘torn out’ panic button in Ayanna Pressley’s office,” former Democratic National Committee Chief Executive Officer Jess O’Connell, a senior Pete Buttigieg presidential campaign advisor, wrote on Twitter early Wednesday.

“There is so much still to learn about what happened and is happening – but it’s very bad,” O’Connell tweeted. “The Democratic women, especially women of color, are in my head and heart today.” 

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