Born in the Bronx, New York, on October 13, 1989, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was raised by a mother from Puerto Rico and a father who had graduated from the Pratt Institute and was a founder of Kirschenbaum & Ocasio-Roman Architects (KORA). Because of the father’s role in establishing the firm, KORA operated as a “certified minority business enterprise,” a designation that came with an assortment of significant privileges – most notably, special preference in the awarding of lucrative government contracts.
Beginning in 1991, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was raised in Yorktown Heights, an affluent, mostly-white town in Westchester County, New York. After her father died from cancer in September 2008, Ocasio-Cortez went on to earn degrees in both economics and international relations at Boston University. During her time as a student there, she also worked for the late Senator Ted Kennedy on matters involving immigration and foreign affairs.
After graduating from college in 2011, Ocasio-Cortez returned to her hometown and took jobs as a bartender and waitress to supplement her mother’s income as a house cleaner and bus driver. In 2012 she started a publishing company, Brook Avenue Press (BAP), which produced children’s books portraying the Bronx in a positive light. (The state of New York dissolved BAP in October 2016, which occurs when a business fails to file a tax return or pay its corporate taxes. On July 6, 2017, the state placed a warrant on the company for non-payment of corporate taxes. As of May 2020, BAP still owed $2,088.78,)
Ocasio-Cortez also began to establish herself as an effective community organizer, most notably as a result of her 2016 participation in protests against proposals to situate a portion of the Dakota Access [Oil] Pipeline within the confines of North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Recognizing Ocasio-Cortez’s potential for eventually blossoming into an influential political figure, the newly formed leftist organization Brand New Congress contacted her and encouraged her to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. That same year, Ocasio-Cortez served as an organizer for Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential bid.
In December 2017, Ocasio-Cortez spoke at a Black Lives Matter rally.
Congressional Campaign of 2018
In early 2018, Ocasio-Cortez launched a campaign for a U.S. House seat representing New York’s 14th Congressional District. When she first filed the necessary paperwork to become a candidate, she mistakenly declared that she was running to represent the neighboring 15th District; she corrected the error a number of days later.
Ocasio-Cortez’s run for Congress came into being as a result of a recruiting campaign organized by a group called Justice Democrats (JD), which in 2017 began holding auditions for potential candidates to run for various U.S. Congressional seats on its leftist political platform. Ocasio-Cortez’s brother Gabriel submitted her name to JD. Upon meeting the young woman, JD perceived her to be someone whose charisma and persona could be harnessed effectively for political purposes. Thus the organization made Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign its top priority. Toward that end, JD scripted and produced her campaign videos while also coordinating all of her fundraising, social media, and voter mobilization activities.
Identity politics played a major role in Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional campaign, as noted in a June 27, 2018 New York Times report stating that she “was unafraid to foreground race, gender, age and class.” Her platform was founded upon calls for: a government-run universal healthcare system which she dubbed “Medicare-for-all”; a federal jobs guarantee; tuition-free public colleges; stricter limits to the Second Amendment; criminal-justice reform rooted in the notion that the existing justice system was awash in inequity against nonwhite minorities; “housing as a human right”; and the dissolution of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. “As overseen by the Trump administration,” said Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign website, “ICE operates with virtually no accountability, ripping apart families and holding our friends and neighbors indefinitely in inhumane detention centers scattered across the United States. Alex[andria] believes that if we are to uphold civic justice, we must abolish ICE and see to it that our undocumented neighbors are treated with the dignity and respect owed to all people, regardless of citizenship status.”
Against great odds, Ocasio-Cortez ran in the Democratic primary against 56-year-old incumbent Joe Crowley, a 19-year congressional veteran who: (a) had not faced a primary challenger in 14 years; (b) was the fourth-highest-ranking Democratic leader in the House; and (c) was considered a favorite to be named as House Speaker if Democrats recaptured control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections. Despite being heavily outspent by Rep. Crowley, Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic congressional primary for the 14th District in June 2018. “The community is ready for a movement of economic and social justice,” said the victor. “That is what we tried to deliver.”
Following Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory over Crowley, 32-year-old Saikat Chakrabarti became her campaign manager. Chakrabarti was a wealthy young man who had co-founded a Silicon Valley firm in 2010 and purchased a $1.6 million home in 2018.
Among the more noteworthy supporters and endorsers of Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 congressional campaign were Bernie Sanders, Zephyr Teachout, Cynthia Nixon, Barack Obama, MoveOn.org, Our Revolution, the Democratic Socialists of America, and Black Lives Matter. Moreover, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee contributed money to the campaign.
On November 6, 2018, Ocasio-Cortez won the general election in her heavily Democratic district, capturing 77.9% of the vote and becoming the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. When she showed up for a Congressional Democrat luncheon a week later, she was, according to a tweet she subsequently posted, “stopped [by security personnel] bc it was assumed I was an intern/staffer.” “Next time try believing women + people of color when they talk about their experiences being a woman or person of color,” she added.
Upon becoming a member of the House of Representatives, Ocasio-Cortez joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
In a January 2019 interview with the Washington Post, Ocasio-Cortez mocked her critics and told them to “enjoy being exhausted for the next two years while we run train on the progressive agenda.” “Run train” is a slang term that means, as the Urban Dictionary notes, “to gangbang” (sexually assault) someone with “several friends.”
Stance on Israel, the Palestinians, & the Middle East
When the Israeli military on May 14, 2018 killed approximately 60 people who were among the scores of thousands of rioters violently protesting the Trump administration’s decision to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Ocasio-Cortez condemned the Jewish state by tweeting that same day: “This is a massacre…. No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore.”
In a July 2018 interview on PBS’s Firing Line with Margaret Hoover, Ocasio-Cortez, when asked to explain her views regarding Israel, falsely claimed that the Jewish state was illegally occupying a state or region called Palestine: “I also think that what people are starting to see, at least in the occupation of Palestine, is just an increasing crisis of humanitarian condition, and that to me is just where I tend to come from on this issue.” Asked to explain her use of the word “occupation,” she replied, “Oh, um, I think what I meant is, like, the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas and places where, um, Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to their housing and homes.” When she was then asked to “expand on that,” the congressional candidate said, with a laugh: “I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue. You know, for me, I’m a firm believer in finding a two-state solution in this issue. And I’m happy to sit down with leaders on both of these — for me, I just look at things through a human rights lens, and I may not use the right words.”
In an interview soon thereafter with Democracy Now!, Ocasio-Cortez was asked if she still favored a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and she carefully avoided giving a definitive answer: “Well, you know, I think this is a conversation that I’m engaging with, with activists right now…. I’m sitting down with lots of activists in this movement … and I’m looking forward to engaging in this conversation.”
The Daily Wire reports that Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional campaign apparently hired a man named Robert Akleh to be a field director, even though another Democrat who had previously employed Akleh in 2014, New York State Senate candidate Oliver Koppell, fired him for making remarks that were anti-Semitic.
On February 3, 2019, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted praise for British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn after having had a phone conversation with him. Wrote the congresswoman: “It was an honor to share such a lovely and wide-reaching conversation with you, @jeremycorbyn! Also honored to share a great hope in the peace, prosperity, + justice that everyday people can create when we uplift one another across class, race, + identity both at home & abroad.” Corbyn over the years has lavished praise on Marxist dictators like Salvador Allende and Hugo Chavez; has described Hamas and Hezbollah as his “friends”; and has urged Britain to end its designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization.
In a July 2019 interview on the hip-hop radio show Ebro in the Morning, host Ebro Darden said: “How do you have white supremacist Jews? How do you have these individuals who are legit aligning with racism and white supremacy, but they’re Jewish? It’s something that most people can’t wrap their brains around. But it’s a real thing. What’s going on with Israel and Palestine, while it’s very, very, deep, it is very, very, criminal, and it is very, very unjust.” In response, Ocasio-Cortez said, “Absolutely.” Added the congresswoman: “Criticizing the occupation doesn’t make you anti-Israel, frankly. It doesn’t mean that you are against the existence of a nation. It means that you believe in human rights, and it’s about making sure that Palestinian human rights are equal to Israeli human rights, and there are a lot of troubling things happening there.” Ocasio-Cortez then endorsed the legitimacy of Palestinian mob violence, stating: “I believe that injustice is a threat to the safety of all people, because once you have a group that is marginalized and marginalized and marginalized — once someone doesn’t have access to clean water, they have no choice but to riot, right?”
When Israel launched a military bombing attack targeting infrastructure strongholds of Gaza-based Hamas terrorists who had recently fired nearly 2,000 Iranian-made missiles into the Jewish state, Omar went to the House of Representatives’ floor on May 13, 2021 and exhorted the Biden administration to acknowledge America’s role in enabling the injustice and human rights violations allegedly inflicted upon the Palestinians by Israel. Among her remarks were the following:
- “This is our business. Because we are playing a role in it.”
- “This is not about both sides. This is about an imbalance of power.”
- “The president and many other figures this week stated that Israel has a right to self-defense, and this is a sentiment that is echoed across this body. But do Palestinians have a right to survive? Do we believe that? And if so, we have a responsibility to that as well.”
On May 19, 2021, Ocasio-Cortez introduced a measure to block America from selling Israel a $735 million precision-guided weapons kit capable of converting unguided or “dumb” bombs into precision-guided munitions. Among those leading the effort with Ocasio-Cortez were Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Mark Pocan, and Ilhan Omar. At the time, Israel was engaged in a military conflict with Hamas, whose Gaza-based terrorist operatives had recently fired more than 3,000 rockets toward Israeli population centers, prompting Israel to respond by using precision-guided bombs to target Hamas weaponry and infrastructure.
Ties to Radical Islamists
In September 2018, Ocasio-Cortez defended and praised the Islamist activist Linda Sarsour, tweeting: “This woman putting it all on the line for healthcare, women & LGBT+ rights is @lsarsour. The far right constantly maligns her w/ false attacks + threats of violence. Yet here she is, as always, fighting for everything our flag represents” — a reference to Sarsour’s effort to derail the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Views on Socialism, Capitalism, & Economics
Ocasio-Cortez is a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America. In an interview published by Vogue magazine on June 25, 2018, she described socialism as the political system most compatible with “democratic participation in our … economic, social and racial dignity.” “To me,” Ocasio-Cortez elaborated, “what socialism means is to guarantee a basic level of dignity. It’s asserting the value of saying that the America we want and the America we are proud of is one in which all children can access a dignified education. It’s one in which no person is too poor to have the medicines they need to live. It’s to say that no individual’s civil rights are to be violated. And it’s to say that we need to really examine the historical inequities that have created much of the inequalities – both in terms of economics and social and racial justice – because they are intertwined.”
In a July 2018 PBS interview, Ocasio-Cortez was asked if perhaps capitalism was “no longer the best vehicle for working-class Americans.” After replying that “[u]nemployment is [currently] low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their kids,” Ocasio-Cortez said: “I do think that right now we have this no-holds-barred, Wild West hyper-capitalism. What that means is profit at any cost. Capitalism has not always existed in the world, and it will not always exist in the world. When this country started, we were not a capitalist [nation], we did not operate on a capitalist economy.” In the same interview:
- Ocasio-Cortez said: “I do think that, absolutely, capitalism was the most efficient and best economy, perhaps, for the time that it was at, perhaps. But as we evolve, as automation begins to really take out extremely large industries, we need to say that we’re not going to throw those people away.”
- When Hoover asked if Democratic Socialism “calls for an end to capitalism,” Ocasio-Cortez said: “Ultimately, we are marching towards progress on this issue. I do think that we are going to see an evolution in our economic system of an unprecedented degree.”
- When Hoover said, “It sounds like you’re skeptical that capitalism is going to continue to be the right answer,” Ocasio-Cortez replied: “Yeah, I think it’s at least a question. I think it’s absolutely a question.”
In an August 2018 interview on the liberal podcast Pod Save America, Ocasio-Cortez said: “I think that politically, this upper-middle class is probably more moderate, but that upper-middle class doesn’t exist anymore in America, and thanks to the continued deregulation of Wall Street, thanks to the continued gutting of working- and middle-class people, we need stronger champions.” Contrary to her assertion, however, both the Urban Institute and the American Enterprise Institute had recently documented the fact that the upper-middle class was in fact expanding.
In a January 21, 2019 interview conducted by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ocasio-Cortez asserted that “a system that allows billionaires to exist” is immoral, particularly while there are “parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health.” “Are we comfortable with a society where someone can have a helipad while [New York City] is experiencing the highest rates of people experiencing homelessness since the Great Depression?” she asked, referring to the helipad that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was expected to have at the new headquarters which his company was building in New York. “Where do we draw the line in excess?” said Ocasio-Cortez. “Is our material technology outpacing our moral technology?” The idea that an American might aspire to “‘be a billionaire and own more than millions of families combined’ is not an aspirational or good thing,” she added.
- In a similar spirit, Ocasio-Cortez said in January 2020: “No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars.”
In a March 9, 2019 interview with Briahna Gray, senior politics editor for the Intercept, Ocasio-Cortez was critical of capitalism, saying: “Capitalism, to me, it’s an ideology of capital. The most important thing is the concentration of capital and it means that we seek and prioritize profit and the accumulation of money above all else, and we seek it at any human and environmental cost. That is what that means. And to me, that ideology is not sustainable and cannot be redeemed…. What we are reckoning with are the consequences of putting profit above everything else in society.”
At a Bronx town hall meeting on June 3, 2019, Ocasio-Cortez asserted that all Americans should be able to live in luxury apartments managed by non-profit organizations or owned communally by the tenants, and that the government should pass legislation that designates housing as a “human right.” Some excerpts:
- “What we have been taught that is a luxury should not be a luxury. Another world is possible. We can live with either responsible landlords, or we can live in buildings that are not-for-profit, or [are] tenant-owned. There are so many ways that we can slice this and we can structure it in a way where all people have a right to a dignified home and it’s not science fiction and it’s not just for the rich.”
- “What we have been taught and what we have been conditioned is that basic rights are a luxury when they are not.”
- “What are we doing to make sure that housing is being legislated as a human right? What does that mean? What it means is that our access and our ability and our guarantee to owning a home comes before someone else’s privilege to earn a profit.”
During an Instagram live session on March 30, 2021, Ocasio-Cortez described America as “a late-stage capitalist society that’s enduring a [coronavirus] pandemic, that has no guarantee of healthcare or housing, and that’s not normal, and is putting all of the weight and exhaustion on working people.”
In a fall 2018 interview, Jorge Ramos asked Ocasio-Cortez how the U.S. would be able to pay for Senator Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for All” proposal, a single-payer healthcare initiative which Ocasio-Cortez was enthusiastically promoting. She replied: “People often say, how are you gonna pay for it? And I find the question so puzzling because, how do you pay for something that’s more affordable? How do you pay for cheaper rent? How do you pay for—you just pay for it.”
In Favor of Packing the Supreme Court
During an October 2018 public forum, Ocasio-Cortez was asked what should be done if President Trump were to be successful in getting his second Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, confirmed. The congresswoman replied: ” I think that we take back the House, we take back the Senate, we take back the presidency, and we pack the Supreme Court of the United States of America.” She then laughed and said, “Next,” as if to indicate that that particular topic of discussion was now settled, and that it was time to move on to another question. “Packing” the Court would entail increasing the number of Justices significantly — from 9 to perhaps 15 — with all the additions being activist judges who could be counted upon to rule in favor of leftist agenda items.
In an October 2018 speech on her economic plan, Ocasio-Cortez likened the fight against climate change to the battle against Nazi Germany in World War II: “So we talk about existential threats, the last time we had a really major existential threat to this country was around World War II, and so we’ve been here before and we have a blueprint of doing this before…. What we had was an existential threat in the context of a war. We had a direct existential threat with another nation, this time it was Nazi Germany, and the Axis, who explicitly made the United States as an enemy, as an enemy. And what we did was that we chose to mobilize our entire economy and industrialized our entire economy and we put hundreds if not millions of people to work in defending our shores and defending this country. We have to do the same thing in order to get us to 100 percent renewable energy, and that’s just the truth of it.”
In another campaign appearance that same month, Ocasio-Cortez expounded upon her recent calls for a “Green New Deal” designed to make the U.S. 100 percent reliant on renewable energy (wind, water, solar) by 2035. “There’s no debate as to whether we should continue producing fossil fuels,” she said. “There’s no debate. We should not. Every single scientific consensus points to that.”
At a climate-change town hall meeting in December 2018, Ocasio-Cortez said that the Green New Deal “is going to be the Great Society, the moonshot, the civil rights movement of our generation. That is the scale of the ambition that this movement is going to require.”
In a January 2019 interview with Anderson Cooper on CBS This Morning, Ocasio-Cortez again spoke out in favor of the Green New Deal. When Cooper asked if she was “talking about everybody having to drive an electric car,” the congresswoman replied: “It’s going to require a lot of rapid change that we don’t even conceive as possible right now. What is the problem with trying to push our technological capacities to the furthest extent possible?” Ocasio-Cortez also stated that her energy plan would require wealthy people “to start paying their fair share in taxes.” When Cooper asked if she had a specific tax rate in mind, the lawmaker answered: “You know, it— you look at our tax rates back in the ’60s and when you have a progressive tax rate system. Your tax rate, you know, let’s say, from zero to $75,000 may be ten percent or 15 percent, et cetera. But once you get to, like, the tippy tops — on your 10 millionth dollar— sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent. That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that as you climb up this ladder you should be contributing more.”
- At that point in the interview, Cooper suggested that Ocasio-Cortez was proposing “a radical agenda — compared to the way politics is done right now.” She replied: “Well, I think that it only has ever been radicals that have changed this country. Abraham Lincoln made the radical decision to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the radical decision to embark on establishing programs like Social Security.” Cooper then asked, “Do you call yourself a radical?” To that, the congresswoman said: “Yeah. You know, if that’s what radical means, call me a radical.”
- When Cooper asked how Ocasio-Cortez proposed to pay for her agenda items, she responded: “No one asks how we’re gonna pay for this [military] Space Force. No one asked how we paid for a $2 trillion tax cut. We only ask how we pay for it on issues of housing, healthcare and education. How do we pay for it? With the same exact mechanisms that we pay for military increases for this Space Force. For all of these— ambitious policies.”
After the widespread circulation of a video wherein Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein told a group of young students that, contrary to their exhortations, she was not supporting the Green New Deal as outlined by Ocasio Cortez, the freshman congresswoman tweeted on February 22, 2019: “Yup. If you don’t like the #GreenNewDeal, then come up with your own ambitious, on-scale proposal to address the global climate crisis. Until then, we’re in charge — and you’re just shouting from the cheap seats.”
Speaking at a “Girls Who Code” event that same day in Queens, New York, Ocasio-Cortez, dismissed detractors of her Green New Deal, saying: “You know what? I don’t care anymore. I don’t care anymore, because again, I’m at least trying, and they’re not. So the power is in the person who’s trying, regardless of the success. If you’re trying, you’ve got all the power, you’re driving the agenda, you’re doing all this stuff. Like I just introduced the Green New Deal two weeks ago, and it’s creating all of this conversation. Why? Because no one else has even tried. Because no one else has even tried. So people are like, ‘Oh it’s unrealistic. Oh it’s vague. Oh it doesn’t address this little minute thing.’ And I’m like, ‘You try. You do it. Cuz you’re not. Cuz you’re not. So, until you do it, I’m the boss.’ How about that?’”
During an Instagram live video appearance on February 24, 2019, Ocasio-Cortez suggested that people might be well-advised to not have children, because of the horrors that climate change was likely to inflict upon the earth in the near future: “Our planet is going to hit disaster if we don’t turn this ship around and so it’s basically like, there’s a scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult. And it does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question, you know, ‘Is it okay to still have children?’”
In early March 2019, the New York Post published an exposé revealing that despite Ocasio-Cortez’s dire warnings about the dangers of carbon emissions from fossil-fuel combustion, her congressional campaign, over the course of 18 months in 2017-18, “heavily relied on those combustible-engine cars — even though a subway station was just 138 feet from her Elmhurst campaign office.” Specifically, Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign spent $29,365.70 for 1,049 transactions with Uber, Lyft, Juno, and other car services — “even though her Queens HQ was a one-minute walk to the 7 train.” By contrast, the campaign “shelled out only $8,335.41 on 52 MetroCard transactions.” In addition, Ocasio-Cortez and her campaign staff logged “66 airline transactions costing $25,174.54,” as compared to only 18 trips with Amtrak – “despite high-speed rail being the cornerstone of her save-the-world strategy.” The Post also noted that Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign “billed only seven rides in yellow cabs in a year and a half,” despite her recent lamentation that “yellow cab drivers are in financial ruin due to the unregulated expansion of Uber.”
In April 2019, Ocasio-Cortez posted a tweet claiming that climate change was a key cause of global migration patterns: “The far-right loves to drum up fear & resistance to immigrants. But have you ever noticed they never talk about what‘s causing people to flee their homes in the first place? Perhaps that’s bc they’d be forced to confront 1 major factor fueling global migration: Climate change.”
During her 2018 congressional campaign and into the early months of 2019, Ocasio-Cortez repeatedly warned that if humanity were to fail to solve the climate crisis within about twelve years or so, the window of opportunity for saving the planet would be lost. For example:
- At a January 2019 Martin Luther King Day forum in New York City, Ocasio-Cortez declared, to a round of applause from the audience: “I think the part of it that is generational is that millennials and people, in Gen Z, and all these folks that come after us are looking up and we’re like, the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”
- In April 2019, she tweeted: “Climate change is here + we’ve got a deadline: 12 years left to cut emissions in half. A #GreenNewDeal is our plan for a world and a future worth fighting for.”
- In an April 2019 video titled “A Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” the congresswoman again said that the world had just “twelve years to change everything” and to “transform our economy” before “hundreds of millions of people would be more likely to face food and water shortages, poverty, and death.”
- When an Instagram live-stream viewer subsequently mocked Ocasio-Cortez over the claim, the visibly annoyed congresswoman replied: “We have twelve years left to cut emissions by at least 50 percent if not more. For everyone who wants to make a joke about that, you may laugh, but you’re grandkids will not, so understand that the internet documents everything.” Ocasio-Cortez then likened the skeptical viewer to the “bigoted” people who had once “fought against principles of equal rights in the United States” during the early civil-rights movement. “People who are trying to mock and delay this moment, I mean—I just feel bad for you,” said the congresswoman. “I just pity you for your role in history right now.”
But as her Green New Deal became increasingly unpopular and failed even to gain legislative support from congressional Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez suddenly changed her narrative and mocked her Republican critics for having taken her dire warnings about a 12-year time limit literally. On May 12, 2019, she tweeted: “This is a technique of the GOP, to take dry humor + sarcasm literally and ‘fact check’ it. Like the ‘world ending in 12 years’ thing, you’d have to have the social intelligence of a sea sponge to think it’s literal.”
In a May 2019 stream-of-consciousness video discussion about composting, the Green New Deal, and community gardens, Ocasio-Cortez suggested that the vegetable cauliflower was an emblem of colonialism:
“Looks like they’ve got composting going on, which is so awesome, too, because composting is really hard to do in a neighborhood like this. We just don’t have the pick ups and the ease of it that a lot of other communities have. So that’s really how you do it, right, that is such a core component of the Green New Deal, is having all of these projects make sense in a cultural context…. But when you really think about it, when someone says that it’s too hard to do a green space that grows yucca instead of, I don’t know, cauliflower or something, what you’re doing is that you’re taking a colonial approach to environmentalism, and that is why a lot of communities of color get resistant to certain environmentalist movements, because they come with the colonial lens on them. And it should be no surprise that sometimes a lot of these projects don’t work out occasionally because our communities are naturally attuned to live in an environmentally conscious way.”
In an August 2019 live video session on Instagram, Ocasio-Cortez opined that climate change might unleash a variety of deadly diseases for which the modern world is unprepared. Said the congresswoman: “Scientists fear that there’s a potential that a lot of diseases could escape these melted glaciers, things that were frozen for thousands of years, and that they’re going to get into our water, and that humans could contract them, and they are going to be diseases that are thousands of years old that have vectors that we are not prepared for, that we have never seen.”
On April 20, 2021, Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey led numerous fellow Democrats in re-introducing the Green New Deal in the House and Senate, respectively.
Immigration & Refugee Policy
In the fall of 2018, Ocasio-Cortez voiced solidarity with the massive “caravan” of thousands of Central American migrant asylum-seekers who had candidly voiced their intent to violate U.S. immigration laws and cross America’s southern border illegally. When hundreds of those migrants stormed past Mexican riot police, rushed the U.S. border at the port of entry in San Ysidro, and threw rocks at American authorities on November 25, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime. It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany. It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda. It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America.”
In February 2019 as well, Ocasio-Cortez delivered a speech wherein she called for the elimination of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, for the disregard of existing immigration laws, and for open borders between the United States and Mexico — while at the same time emphasizing that “we are a nation and land of laws”:
“[ICE] do not deserve a dime until they can prove that they are honoring human rights, until they can make a good faith effort to expand and embrace immigrants … Until they can prove good faith to an American ideal, they do not deserve any resources for their radical agenda. We have to have respect for children, respect for families, respect for human rights, and respect for the right of human mobility because it is a right. It is a right because we are standing on Native land, and Latino people are descendants of Native people. And we cannot be told and criminalized simply for our identity and our status. We are a nation and land of laws, not just [one where] some people are subject to laws and others are not. We are a land of laws.”
During a February 15, 2019 live stream for her political supporters, Ocasio-Cortez likened President Trump’s proposed border wall to the Berlin Wall that once separated communist East Germany from the free world. Said the congresswoman: “No matter how you feel about the wall, I think it’s a moral abomination. I think it’s like the Berlin Wall. I think it’s like any other wall designed to separate human beings and block out people who are running away from the humanitarian disasters. I just think it’s wrong.”
In a June 2019 Instagram video, Ocasio-Cortez said that the United States “is running concentration camps on our southern border” — a reference to detention centers where American authorities hold people who are apprehended for crossing illegally from Mexico into the United States. “That is exactly what they are,” she added. “They are concentration camps. If that doesn’t bother you…I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something…. The fact that concentrations camps are now an institutionalized practice in the home of the free is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it…. This isn’t just about immigrant communities being held in concentration camps being a crisis, this is a crisis for ourselves. This is a crisis on if America will remain America in its actual principles and values or if we are losing to an authoritarian and fascist presidency. I don’t use those words lightly. I don’t use those words to just throw bombs. I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is. A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist and it’s very difficult to say that.”
- When making the foregoing remarks, Ocasio-Cortez failed to note that the president who had ordered the internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s was Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whom the congresswoman had recently praised for having “believed [that] healthcare, housing, education, and a living wage should be guaranteed rights in the United States of America.”
- In response to pushback which she received from Republican legislators who claimed that her remarks about “concentration camps” minimized the Holocaust and were anti-Semitic, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “[F]or the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial.’ And that’s exactly what this administration is doing.”
- Soon thereafter, a reporter from the Intercept asked Ocasio-Cortez: “How do you respond to Republicans who are talking about physical barriers being part of any package that deals with the actual crisis in terms of the traffic coming across?” The congresswoman replied: “If they want to do that, that’s fine … but they should not be using a humanitarian crisis as a bargaining chip to make sure they pursue their little torture project.”
During an Instagram live session on March 30, 2021, Ocasio-Cortez was asked why she had not been speaking out against the massive influx of illegal aliens who were migrating northward across America’s southern border as a direct result of President Joe Biden’s newly implemented immigration and asylum policies. “Why are you not addressing the border crisis and the kids in cages like you used to [during the Trump administration]?” asked an Instagram user. In her response, the congresswoman asserted that “so much of our national ‘conversation,’ which is not a conversation, about immigration, is driven by people who could not care less about immigrants.” She also said: “[I]t’s not a border crisis. It’s an imperialism crisis. It’s a climate crisis. It’s a trade crisis. And also, it’s a carceral crisis because, as I have already said, even during this term and this president [Biden], our immigration system is based and designed on our carceral system.”
- Claiming that America itself was largely responsible for the sudden, massive influx of migrants and asylum-seekers, Ocasio-Cortez added: “Our solutions need to be rooted in foreign policy, because our interventionist history and foreign policy, and history over decades of destabilizing regions, drive people to migrate.”
- Yet another root cause of the migration, she said, was climate change, for which the United States was, once again, chiefly to blame because it had “disproportionately contributed to the total amount of emissions that is causing a planetary climate crisis right now.” “But who is bearing the brunt of that?” the congresswoman continued. “Disproportionately, it’s actually not us. We helped create the problem, but disproportionately it’s the global South, it’s South Asia, it’s Latin America that are gonna be experiencing the floods, wildfires, and droughts in a disproportionate way, which, ding-ding-ding, has already started a migration crisis.”
- Ocasio-Cortez also told her Instagram listeners to not use the term “surge” to describe the situation at the border, where many thousands of unaccompanied minors were being detained temporarily. “Anyone who’s using the term ‘surge’ around you consciously is trying to invoke a militaristic frame,” she explained, “and that’s a problem. Because this is not a surge, these are children, and they are not insurgents, and we are not being invaded, which by the way is a white supremacist idea, philosophy — the idea that if an ‘other’ is coming in the population, that this is like an invasion of who we are.”
In the same Instagram session, Ocasio-Cortez stated that families whose members were forcibly separated during the Trump years “are owed reparations. Period.” She made no mention of the fact that those separations were carried out in accordance with the mandates of immigration law.
Describing President Trump and His Supporters As Racists
At a town hall meeting in December 2018, Ocasio-Cortez told moderator Anderson Cooper that while President Trump “certainly didn’t invent racism,” “he’s certainly given a voice to it and expanded it and created a platform for [it].” When Cooper asked the congresswoman if she believed that Trump was a racist, she replied: “Yeah. Yeah. No question…. When you look at the words that he uses, which are historic dog whistles of white supremacy. When you look at how he reacted to the Charlottesville incident, where neo-Nazis murdered a woman, versus how he manufactures crises like immigrants seeking legal refuge on our borders, it’s— it’s night and day.”
In January 2019, Ocasio-Cortez voiced support for the rapper Cardi B, who had just stated that President Trump’s supporters were “fu**ing racist rednecks,” and that she personally “would have motherfu**in’ punched the wig out of Trump” if she had been in his presence during a recent White House event. When a TMZ reporter asked Ocasio-Cortez if more people like Cardi B should speak out about political matters, the congresswoman replied: “I do, I do. I mean, Bronx girls are gonna re-open the government, okay?” (This was a reference to the partial government shutdown that had been in effect for approximately four weeks.)
Ignorance About Government
In a video that she tweeted out on January 18, 2019, Ocasio-Cortez failed to accurately name the three branches of government. She said it was vital for Democrats to “work our butts off to make sure that we take back all three chambers of Congress, uh, rather, all three chambers of government — the presidency, the Senate and the House — in 2020.”
Facts Are Unimportant When One Is “Morally Right”
In a January 2019 interview on CBS‘s 60 Minutes, host Anderson Cooper asked Ocasio-Cortez: “One of the criticisms of you is that– that your math is fuzzy. The Washington Post recently awarded you four Pinocchios for misstating some statistics about Pentagon spending?” The congresswoman replied: “If people want to really blow up one figure here or one word there, I would argue that they’re missing the forest for the trees. I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.”
In a January 21, 2019 interview conducted by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ocasio-Cortez stated that the United States should pay reparations to the non-white communities that had been impacted in a negative way by President Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s. Said the congresswoman: “People think reparations is reparations for slavery, but really, economically speaking, reparations are for the damage done by the New Deal and redlining because that is where we saw a compounding of the existing inequity from the legacy of slavery, where we drew red lines around black communities. We said white communities will get home loans and they will get access to the basic bedrock of wealth in America and this will be your heirloom and we gave white America the heirloom that appreciated over time, that people still benefit from today and we did not give to African-American and Mexican communities, Puerto Rican communities.” “It’s important,” she added, “to tell the story of where we’ve been and what others are doing as well because we look at, for example, Germany, and how they’ve been able or they’re attempt to try to heal after the Holocaust. Germany paid reparations and they went through that process and they had that truth-telling process. And until America tells the truth about itself, we’re not going to heal.”
The Amazon.com Controversy
Also in February 2019, the corporate giant Amazon, in response to vociferous opposition and criticism from Ocasio-Cortez and other left-wing activists in New York City, decided to cancel its plan to build an expansive corporate campus that would have brought some 25,000 new jobs to the city. The congresswoman opposed Amazon’s intended move into New York because of: (a) the significant tax incentives that were being promised to the company; (b) the company’s longstanding efforts to prevent its employees from unionizing; and (c) the “dehumanizing conditions” under which those employees allegedly worked. Upon hearing of Amazon’s decision to back out of its New York deal, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted victory: “Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world” — a reference to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
In an interview soon thereafter, Ocasio-Cortez said:
“… I firmly believe that if we want to take that $3 billion dollars that we were willing to give to Amazon and invest it in our local community, we can do that. We can make those jobs. We can make 25,000 jobs. But we don’t have to give away and allow our subway system to crumble so that Amazon essentially owns a part of New York City. We can create 25,000 jobs with Mom-and-Pops; we can create 25,ooo jobs with companies that are willing to come to the table, but we should not be giving away our infrastructure, our subway system, our schools, our teachers’ salaries, our firefighters’ budgets, to a company that has not shown good faith to New Yorkers. And we can ask for more because we deserve more.”
A Daily Wire analysis subsequently noted: “What Ocasio-Cortez apparently doesn’t or won’t understand is that there is no $3 billion out there that New York could spend; it was simply $3 billion in unpaid taxes from which Amazon would have benefited by staying in New York.”
In a June 2019 appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Ocasio-Cortez speculated that Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos might lose his status as a billionaire under a “true progressive program,” saying: “[Bezos] being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access health care.” In response, Amazon tweeted that all of its employees — even those in entry-level positions — were paid at least $15 per hour plus “top-tier benefits.”
In a February 28, 2019 tweet, Ocasio-Cortez lamented “our nation’s history of slavery, Jim Crow, & mass incarceration”; its “targeting of indigenous peoples”; and its “classist, punitive agenda targeting working families.”
In April 2020, as the U.S. and most other nations were battling a deadly coronavirus pandemic, Ocasio-Cortez posted a video in which she called for government to reform the American healthcare system and mandate the temporary cancellation of rent payment. These suggestions led her to portray the U.S. as a “brutal, barbarian society”:
“Healthcare is a human right. You shouldn’t get better healthcare because you have a higher position in work. Everyone should be able to have dignified access to healthcare. This is supposed to be the richest society in the world. And I think what this crisis is showing us, is that this is only a rich society for a very small amount of people. And it is a brutal, barbarian society for the vast majority of working-class Americans.”
Possible Election-Law Violations
On March 6, 2019, the Daily Caller reported that according to corporate filings which it had obtained, Ocasio-Cortez and her top aide, Saikat Chakrabarti, had held “majority control over Justice Democrats,” a political action committee whose support was crucial to Ocasio-Cortez’s election victory in 2018, “ever since December 2017.” The article added: “Chakrabarti resigned from the Justice Democrats’ board in August 2018 … and the PAC’s website no longer lists Ocasio-Cortez as a governor, but government documents show the two still hold majority control…. Ocasio-Cortez never disclosed her control of the PAC to the FEC. If the congresswoman intentionally withheld that information from the FEC, both she and Chakrabarti ‘could be facing jail time,’ former FEC Commissioner Brad Smith told the [Daily Caller News Foundation, or DNCF].” Added the Daily Caller on March 7:
“Former FEC commissioners told the DCNF that if Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign was operating in affiliation with the PAC, [she] could be opened up to ‘massive reporting violations’…. Experts say it could be a felony if Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff knowingly and intentionally withheld this information [regarding their control over Justice Democrats] to skirt campaign contribution limits. PACs and campaigns must share a contribution limit when being controlled by the same person or group of persons.”
Though attorneys for Ocasio-Cortez said that she had been taken off of JD’s board in June 2018, she continued to be listed an “entity governor” of the organization through March 14, 2015. On March 15, JD quietly removed Ocasio-Cortez and Saikat Chakrabarti from its list of board members.
In response to recently enacted laws restricting abortion access in several states, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in May 2019:
- “To the GOP extremists trying to invoke ‘the unborn’ to jail people for abortion: Where are you on climate change? OH right, you want to burn fossil fuels til there’s hell on Earth. If they were truthful about their motives, they’d be consistent in their principles. They’re not.”
- “What angers me about the GOP’s attempts to turn the United States into a far-right Christian theocracy is how dishonest they are about it. At least be forthright about your desire to subvert and dismantle our democracy into a creepy theological order led by a mad king.”
- “The GOP doesn’t care about babies at all – especially brown, black, or poor ones. If they did, they’d: – cosponsor the Green New Deal or at LEAST have a real climate plan – guarantee healthcare so ALL can get prenatal care – not stand for the death+caging of babies on our border”
In another tweet later that same month, Ocasio-Cortez suggested that recently passed state laws limiting abortion access were part of a larger conspiracy by religious people to ban sex: “Abortion bans aren’t just about controlling women’s bodies. They’re about controlling women’s sexuality. Owning women. From limiting birth control to banning comprehensive sex ed, US religious fundamentalists are working hard to outlaw sex that falls outside their theology.” In a separate tweet, the congresswoman characterized abortion bans as “a brutal form of oppression.”
Opposition to Citizenship Question on National Census
In a June 2019 House of Representatives hearing, Ocasio-Cortez stated that the proposal to include a question about citizenship status in the U.S. Census would be, if implemented, every bit as unjust as the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, which held that black slaves could not petition for their freedom, or the 1944 Korematsu decision that justified the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. She said:
“Unspeakable horrors have been executed by the United States in the name of citizenship. In the name of determining who is a citizen. And, by citizen, we mean who is a person in our democracy. That is what citizenship means. It is an acknowledgment of personhood, in American democracy, an acknowledgment of power.
“And, when I think about the Supreme Court decision, with this, I think about Dred Scott. I think about Korematsu versus the United States, where the Supreme Court upheld Japanese internment regardless of the citizenship status of Japanese-Americans.
“And, how did that start? It started with the United States Census. It started with the United States Census. We have laws on the books, saying that information from the census cannot be used in any other way, that it must be confidential. And what happened? When the federal government, the executive branch, the president of the United States – I don’t care if he was a Democrat; I don’t care if he was a Republican, it was wrong.”
“And what he did, he asked for information, and the Census Bureau broke the law, and divulged information on zip codes where Japanese-Americans were concentrated. And that information was used to intern (sic) American citizens and non-American citizens alike, and the Supreme Court upheld that. Dred Scott, a black man suing for his freedom, came right before the United States Supreme Court, and what they said was that the U.S. Constitution did not give African-Americans citizenship.” …
“They have gotten it wrong. The Supreme Court has gotten it wrong. And unspeakable violations of human rights and civil liberties have been executed by the United States government in that, in light of that. And I can tell you, with this Supreme Court argument, they could very well get it wrong again.”
Refusing to Condemn Antifa
After an activist affiliated with the communist/anarchist Antifa movement attempted to carry out a terror attack against an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Tacoma, Washington on July 13, 2019, a reporter from Rebel Media repeatedly asked Ocasio-Cortez, who had often characterized ICE’s treatment of migrants as brutal, if she planned to condemn the incident, and whether she felt any personal responsibility for it. The congresswoman mostly ignored the questions and tried to walk away, though a couple of times she said that she would be “making a statement” on that matter at some point. (See video.)
In a series of tweets which she posted in the wake of an August 2019 mass shooting by a white supremacist in El Paso, Texas, Ocasio-Cortez wrote:
- “Supremacists are those who have been completely overcome by the disease, but supremacy—the virus—exists on a larger scale beyond just the infected. It also lays dormant.”
- “White supremacy is often subconscious and clearly, our nation has not been inoculated. WS is our nation’s original sin; the driving logic of slavery, of Native genocide, of Jim Crow, of segregation, of mass incarceration, of ‘Send Her Back’ [a reference to chant which Trump supporters had recently used in reference to Rep. Ilhan Omar, a native of Somalia]. It never went away. It was just dormant.”
- “We wish it was as simple as denouncing a white hood, a burnt cross, vile language. But we need to address where supremacy *begins,* not just where it ends.”
- “Recognizing white supremacy in ourselves—our institutions, our subconscious, our own past remarks or acts (no matter how consciously unintentional), is what makes the healing work ahead challenging.”
- “It is incredibly important that we recognize that perfectly normal, good people are capable of aiding racism & white supremacy. Recognizing that is not about pillorying people. It’s about learning to recognize *the virus* & end an oppressive system designed to hurt us *all.*”
Ocasio-Cortez’s Chief of Staff Departs
On August 2, 2019, Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, left the congresswoman’s D.C. office in order to take a job with an outside group focused on pushing the Green New Deal. Also departing from Ocasio-Cortez’s D.C. office was her communications director Corbin Trent, who announced that he would head communications for the congresswoman’s 2020 re-election campaign.
Opposition to the Electoral College
In an August 2019 Instagram video, Ocasio-Cortez characterized the U.S. Electoral College as “a scam” that negatively affects minorities. “We’re coming to you live from the Electoral College,” the congresswoman said sarcastically in a video that showed her driving along a sparsely populated desert highway. “Many votes here, as you can see. Very efficient way to choose leadership of the country. I mean I can’t think of any other way, can you?” “Due to severe racial disparities in certain states, the Electoral College effectively weighs white voters over voters of color, as opposed to a ‘one person, one vote’ system where all our votes are counted equally,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “Could you imagine if we had this kind of democracy-altering ‘fairness’ provision for literally any other group? If we weighed, for example, black and indigenous voters more because of unfairness?… Facts are facts, America. The Electoral College has to go.”
In a series of tweets that she posted a few days later, Ocasio-Cortez elaborated on her opposition to the Electoral College:
I see Fox News is big mad about abolishing the electoral college. So let’s talk about it.
1) If the GOP were the “silent majority” they claim, they wouldn’t be so scared of a popular vote. They *know* they aren’t the majority. They rely on establishing minority rule for power.
2) This common claim about “if we don’t have the Electoral College then a handful of states will determine the presidency” is BS.
a. It’s the *EC itself* that breaks down power by state, pop vote decentralizes it
b. The EC makes it so a handful of states DO determine elections
3) LASTLY, this concept that the Electoral College is provides “fairness” to rural Americans over coastal states doesn’t hold any water whatsoever. First of all, virtually every state has rural communities. NY. California. Much of our states are rural. But very importantly…
4) We do not give electoral affirmative action to any other group in America. Do Black Americans have their votes count more bc they have been disenfranchised for 100s of years? Do Reservations get an electoral vote? Does Puerto Rico and US territories get them? No. They don’t.
5) The Electoral College isn’t about fairness at all; it’s about empowering some voters over others. Every vote should be = in America, no matter who you are or where you come from. The right thing to do is establish a Popular Vote. & GOP will do everything they can to fight it.
Support for Anti-Police Rioters
A viral video showing police officers attempting to break up a fight between teens at a Brooklyn subway station on Halloween night 2019, sparked massive anti-police demonstrations wherein participants: (a) defaced police cars with graffiti that read “F–k NYPD”; (b) directed obscene gestures at police officers; (c) displayed signs that said “F–k the police” and “NYPD KKK”; (d) pelted NYPD squad cars with boxes, trash and eggs, and then mocked officers with chants of “Trick or treat, motherf–kers!”; and (e) jumped subway turnstiles en masse. Portraying the demonstrators as people who were engaged in legitimate protest over law-enforcement abuses, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “Ending mass incarceration means challenging a system that jails the poor to free the rich. Arresting people who can’t afford a $2.75 [subway] fare makes no one safer and destabilizes our community. New Yorkers know that, they’re not having it, and they’re standing up for each other.”
Regarding Leftism, Capitalism, American Racism, & Environmental Policy
While speaking with Senator Bernie Sanders at a November 2019 “Climate Crisis” summit in Iowa, Ocasio-Cortez said to a raucous audience of impassioned supporters: “Are you all ready for a revolution? I sure am.” “When people try to accuse us of going too far left — we’re not pushing the party left,” she added. “We are bringing the party home.” Also in the course of her address, the congresswoman said: “The reason we are in this crisis is because oil and gas has been one of the most profitable industries of the modern era and when we talk about fighting money in politics what we’re talking about is fighting big oil. We’re talking about fighting Wall Street. We’re talking about fighting big pharma.” Suggesting that the only way to get “get through this moment” [i.e., the Donald Trump presidency] was to “guarantee” health care to every American, she added: “Here’s the thing, is that we can beat him but we have to vaccinate ourselves against something like this [Trump’s 2016 election victory] ever happening again, and the way we inoculate ourselves … from late-stage hyper capitalistic concentration of wealth among the very, very few is with a labor movement.” Asserting also that “the way we inoculate ourselves from continuing to burn up our planet … is by honoring indigenous wisdom and allowing it to guide our climate policy,” Ocasio-Cortez stated: “The way that we preserve our systems is by transitioning to principles of universality. That means I want you clothed, I want you educated, I want you paid a living wage — no ifs, ands, or buts. And what that also means … is directly, consciously, combating white supremacy in the United States of America.”
Says the United States Is a Nation of “Fascism”
Speaking a December 2019 rally in Los Angeles for presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez said:
“Because we know once again that this moment is not about one four-year presidential campaign, this is a movement decades in the making. It’s a movement of anti-racist, black liberation activists, of immigration activists, of queer liberation activists, of the labor movements — it is a movement of all people and causes come together. And we have to take it to the starting line, because that’s what we’re fighting for. This election is about the start of this work, because we’re nowhere near there right now. So we need to fight to start this work, the establishment of an advanced society. Because as much as we like to say that the United States is the richest country in the history or rather in modern history — For who? The richest country, who cares about how much gold is being amassed if we can’t realize an advanced society with those resources? And we’re here to say that what we’re living in right now is not an advanced society; a society that allows people —”
At that point, a female audience member shouted: “Well, we call it fascism, that’s what it is.” This prompted Ocasio-Cortez to say: “It is fascism, what we have, what we’re evolving into as well.”
Describes Rush Limbaugh As a “Virulent Racist”
Ocasio-Cortez condemned Donald Trump after the latter had used the occasion of his February 4, 2020 State Of The Union address to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, who had recently been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Said the congresswoman, who had boycotted Trump’s speech:
“Him [Limbaugh] pretending to be surprised [by the award] was such a joke that this has been news all day. There have been multiple reports from multiple news outlets saying that Rush Limbaugh was going to receive the Medal of Freedom, and then Trump announced it and he [Limbaugh] had to like pretend that this was some kind of Oprah moment — was so disingenuous. And to do that and to give it to Rush Limbaugh when there were plenty of people in that audience that have contributed positively to the fabric of American society, much more frankly, than he has. But it’s red meat to his base — Trump knows what he is doing and he wants to assert that Rush Limbaugh is somehow on the same level as Rosa Parks. It’s truly nauseating, and this is one of the many reasons why I did not go.”
Ocasio-Cortez also described Limbaugh as a “virulent racist” who did not merit such an “extraordinarily sacred award.” “And to [present the award] in the middle of a State Of The Union and not even dignify it with its own ceremony as it has, there’s all sorts of norms that are being violated, not just for people’s humanity, but also it truly just cheapens the value of it,” she said.
Demanding Coronavirus “Reparations” for Minority Communities
In early April 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic was afflicting an increasing number of Americans, Ocasio-Cortez called for coronavirus reparations for low-income nonwhite minorities, claiming that such people were experiencing higher death rates from the disease (known as COVID-19) because of underlying economic inequality. “COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities,” she tweeted to her 6 million followers on April 3. “Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions.” “Inequality is a comorbidity,” the congresswoman added. “COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.”
In an April 1 radio interview, Ocasio-Cortez condemned New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo for not having temporarily suspended the requirement for rent payments like he did for mortgage holders. “We’re kind of creating a class and race issue,” said the legislator. “We’re essentially rewarding and offering preferential treatment to landowners and folks who are more wealthy, and we’re not offering that same kind of relief to renters.”
Using the Coronavirus Pandemic to Disparage Capitalism
On April 10, 2020 — as the coronavirus pandemic was wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy — Ocasio-Cortez used her Twitter account to post a screenshot of a news report showing that the Dow Jones Industrial Average was making significant gains while 16 million Americans had lost their jobs in recent weeks. Above that screenshot, she wrote the caption: “When late stage capitalism takes a selfie.”
Celebrating the Collapse of the Oil Market
On April 20, 2020, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted – and then quickly deleted – a celebration of the news that U.S. equity markets had crashed as a result of oil prices turning negative for the first time in history. “You absolutely love to see it,” the congresswoman wrote in response to a post that stated: “Oil prices now at ‘negative values,’ meaning oil producers have to pay people to take it off their hands and store it because when demand plunges (like now), that is less expensive for them than building more storage and/or shutting wells down.” Added Ocasio-Cortez: “This along with record low interest rates means it’s the right time for a worker-led, mass investment in green infrastructure to save our planet. *cough*.” When Bernie Sanders’ communications director Mike Casca responded to the congresswoman by tweeting “like some kind of new deal?”, Ocasio-Cortez replied, “Great idea!”
Supporting Black Lives Matter & the Defund-the-Police Movement
In the aftermath of the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, police nationwide came under withering attack by left-wing activists, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa movements, and Democrat politicians. Anti-police protests and riots broke out in many U.S. cities, and police in those places became significantly less proactive in dealing with potential criminal suspects. Further, a number of cities initiated efforts to defund or disband their respective police forces. In New York, for instance, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city’s overall police budget of $6 billion would be cut by $1 billion. As a result of these foregoing factors, the incidence of murders, shootings, and violent crimes in many cities skyrocketed to astronomical levels. New York was one of those places.
In early June 2020, Ocasio-Cortez rejected what she called “bland statements” of support for BLM by corporate America, and she called on U.S. companies to take concrete action to support BLM’s agendas. “This moment calls for transformation,” she tweeted on June 3. “Your statement should include your organization’s INTERNAL commitments to change, particularly if you’ve been called on it before… Give people change.”
In a June 5 congressional primary debate, Ocasio-Cortez said that she was “actively engaged in advocacy for” a “reduction of our NYPD budget and defunding a $6 billion NYPD budget that costs us books in the hands of our children and costs us very badly needed investment in NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority] and public housing.”
In a July 12, 2020 town hall, Ocasio-Cortez addressed New York’s rising crime rates as follows:
“Do we think this has to do with the fact that there’s record unemployment in the United States right now? The fact that people are at a level of economic desperation that we have not seen since the great recession? Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent. And so they go out and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money. So, you maybe have to — they’re put in a position where they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry that night. Keep in mind that this uptick in crime that’s happening right now is with a $6 billion New York City Police Department budget. We have shoved more and more and more money into the NYPD. It has not prevented this uptick in crime.”
On August 14, 2020, a group of dozens of BLM protesters in Seattle marched through a residential neighborhood and shouted demands that the white residents there give up their homes so that blacks could inhabit them instead. Said one of the protesters: “Do you know that before your white ass came here, this was all black people? Do you know people like you came in here and basically bought all the land from the black people for less than what it was worth, kicked them out so you could live here? Do you know that? ‘Cause if you don’t, now you f–king do — now do something about it! So how do you plan to fix it? As a gentrifier, because you are part of that problem.” Said another: “Give black people back their homes! You’re sitting there comfortably — comfortable as f—k as if they didn’t help gentrify this neighborhood! I used to live in this neighborhood, and my family was pushed out, and you’re sitting up there having a good time with your other white friends!” The next day — August 15, 2020 — Ocasio-Cortez refused to condemn the BLM protesters who had issued these demands. “Since this is happening in Seattle,” said the congresswoman, “I don’t have as close of a view on what’s happening … [but] it’s important for us to enact legislation and policy that actually addresses the core reasons behind why all of this kind of disruption is happening. Until we do that, this is going to keep occurring, whether we want it to or not.” Ocasio-Cortez also called it “extremely important that we establish just policies and address the core issues of brutality in order for us to come together.”
In December 2020, Ocasio-Cortez doubled down on her call for defunding the police, tweeting: “The whole point of protesting is to make ppl uncomfortable. To folks who complain protest demands make others uncomfortable… that’s the point.”
Supporting Deceptive Efforts to Decrease Attendance at Trump Rally
On June 20, 2020, Ocasio-Cortez boasted on Twitter that teenagers and Korean pop-music fans had used the Chinese-owned app TikTok to sign up for President Trump’s campaign rally that evening in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and to thereby inflate RSVP numbers. When those people then failed to show up for the rally, the result was that there were many empty seats in the arena. The congresswoman mocked the Trump campaign and lauded the pranksters in a tweet that read: “Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID. Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud.”
Asserting That “Latinos Are Black” and Calling for “Conversations Around ‘Colorism'”
On June 23, 2020, Ocasio Cortez had the following exchange with a male interviewer:
MAN: “The Latino community has been very affected by this pandemic, and Queens and Bronx are a good example of this. Why do you think that is, that Latinos are being so affected by COVID-19?”
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “Well, you know, there’s — there’s a lot that we learned from the impact of COVID. One is that that impact has been racialized, and the — the race that you are really determines a lot about how disproportionately impacted you are…. [W]hat we’re seeing now is just a crisis of economics, of health impacts, of structural racism that results in disproportionate impacts on Latino and black communities.”
MAN: “And now that you talk about race, what do you think the Latinx community should do to stop racism among them and among other races?”
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “Yeah. Well, I — the first thing that’s so important is for us to talk about racism within our community and how we fit — both — how we are both impacted by racism in the United States and across the world, but also how it exists within our own communities. And, you know, a lot of times I’ll hear people say, ‘Okay this is about Black Lives Matter. What about Latinos?’ And I always say Latinos are black. We are Afro-Latina and we — we run an entire racial spectrum. And so we have to have conversations around colorism, and we have to have conversations about the African and indigenous roots from which we come and how that’s reflected in systems of power, wealth inequality and, frankly, our political system.”
Claiming That a Statue Honoring a Canonized Priest Is an Homage to “White Supremacist Culture”
In July 2020, Ocasio-Cortez stated on Instagram that the presence, in the U.S. Capitol building, of a statue honoring the canonized saint Father Damien, who spent his life ministering to lepers and ultimately died of their dreaded disease, was a symbol of “white supremacist culture.” “Even when we select figures to tell the stories of colonized places, it is the colonizers and settlers whose stories are told – and virtually no one else,” said the congresswoman. “It’s not Queen Lili’uokalani of Hawaii, the only Queen Regnant of Hawaii, who is immortalized and whose story is told. It is Father Damien. This isn’t to litigate each and every individual statue, but to point out the patterns that have emerged among the totality of them in who we are taught to deify in our nation’s Capitol: virtually all men, all white, and mostly both. This is what patriarchy and white supremacist culture looks like! It’s not radical or crazy to understand the influence white supremacist culture has historically had in our overall culture and how it impacts the present day.”
Nominating Bernie Sanders, Rather Than Joe Biden, for President
During the Democratic National Convention in August 2020, Ocasio-Cortez was invited to present a 90-second video message in which she: (a) detailed the policies that she supported as a democratic socialist, and (b) snubbed presidential nominee Joe Biden by instead endorsing Bernie Sanders for president. “In a time when millions of people in the United States are looking for deep systemic solutions to our crises of mass evictions, unemployment, and lack of health care, and espíritu del pueblo and out of a love for all people, I hereby second the nomination of Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America,” said the congresswoman.
Lauding the Protesters and Rioters in America’s Streets
In an August 2020 photo essay in which Vanity Fair magazine “celebrat[ed] the founders of Black Lives Matter [BLM] … and more on the forefront of change,” Ocasio-Cortez called it “profoundly exciting” that the Marxist/anarchist revolutionaries of BLM and Antifa were “discovering their own power” by participating in the massive wave of protests and violent riots that had swept the country since late May. Some excerpts:
- “I believe that people are really discovering their own power in a broader sense that we have not seen in a very long time. So, yes, we’re starting to see some of this emerging power at the ballot box and at the polls, but we’re also starting to see it in the streets, and people standing up for themselves in the workplace, in organizing themselves and their labor, and it’s profoundly exciting. And it’s really incredible to see how people are really taking the reins for themselves in the direction of systemic change.”
- “I think that all these people in the streets that are educating others, that are engaging in this elevated and amplified way, have really emboldened me, and it’s given me a lot of courage and encouragement to try to match the energy of everyone else right now who’s really fighting for progressive change.”
Supporting an Openly Anti-Capitalist Political Candidate
In a September 1, 2020 interview which Ocasio-Cortez conducted for Interview Magazine, she promoted fellow Democratic Socialist Jabari Brisport from New York as another political candidate who hoped to fundamentally transform the United States. When the congresswoman asked the openly gay, black nominee for the New York State Senate to explain what the term “Democratic Socialist” meant to him, Brisport replied:
“For me, it’s really about getting people out from underneath the thumb of capitalism, and freeing them from the very small group of people that manage—or I should say mismanage—our economy and our society for their own wealth and benefit. It’s about freeing up people to truly experience all the joys in life by making sure they don’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll be able to keep their home from month to month, or whether or not they’ll be able to pay for health care when they get sick. It’s about freeing people from all the existential havoc that capitalism wreaks on us, and allowing them to truly thrive.”
Smearing President Trump As a “Racist” and a “Motherfucker”
In a December 2020 Vanity Fair profile, Ocasio-Cortez described President Trump as a “racist visionary” and slammed “these motherfuckers … only paying $750 a year in taxes” — a reference to a debunked claim that Trump had paid only $750 per year in taxes in 2016 and 2017. “These are the same people saying that we can’t have tuition-free public colleges because there’s no money,” said the congresswoman, “when these motherfuckers are only paying $750 a year in taxes.”
Enemies List of Trump Allies & Supporters
During the first weekend after Election Day in November 2020, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future? I foresee decent probability of many deleted Tweets, writings, photos in the future.” A group calling itself the Trump Accountability Project(TAP) voiced its agreement with the congresswoman’s position. Said TAP: “Remember what they did. We should not allow the following groups of people to profit from their experience: Those who elected him. Those who staffed his government. Those who funded him.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s Online Merchandise Store
In late 2020, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez established an online, store where, to raise money for her political campaigns, she sold various items bearing an array of left-wing political slogans. Among the items for sale in her store as of early December 2020 were $65 hoodies, $58 sweatshirts, $28 caps, $27 T-shirts, $27 coffee mugs, and $27 tote bags. These items were adorned with slogans like “Tax the Rich,” “Drink Water & Don’t Be Racist,” “The Green New Deal,” “Social Economic & Racial Justice,” “[Cancel] Student Debt,” “AOC + Me,” “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” and “Abolish ICE.”
Advocating a Government-Run Ministry of Truth, After the Breach of the Capitol
During a live stream on Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram page in the immediate aftermath of a January 6, 2021 incident where several hundred people claiming to be Trump supporters had temporarily occupied the Capitol building to protest what they viewed as a stolen presidential election, a viewer asked the congresswoman if the House of Representatives might consider instituting some type of “truth-and-reconciliation or media-literacy initiatives” to help unify a divided nation. Ocasio-Cortez replied affirmatively, stating that she and some of her colleagues had been exploring such a possibility to help “rein in” the press and combat misinformation allegedly disseminated by people like Trump and his supporters — i.e., claims that election fraud and unconstitutional changes to election law had greatly affected the outcome of the 2020 presidential race. “It’s one thing to have differentiating opinions but it’s another thing entirely to just say things that are false,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “So that’s something that we’re looking into.”
Ocasio-Cortez Exaggerates the Danger She Was in During the Breach of the Capitol
In a February 1, 2021 article titled “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Hid in Bathroom During Capitol Riot and Thought She Was Going to Die,” Newsweek summarized the congresswoman’s version of what had happened to her on January 6:
Ocasio-Cortez said that rioters actually entered her office, forcing her to take refuge inside her bathroom after her legislative director Geraldo Bonilla-Chavez told her to “hide, hide, run and hide.”
“And so I run back into my office,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I slam my door. There’s another kind of like back area to my office, and I open it, and there’s a closet and a bathroom. And I jump into my bathroom.”
Ocasio-Cortez said [she] was hiding behind the door “and then I just start to hear these yells of, ‘Where is she?’”
As members of the mob banged against the door, Ocasio-Cortez believed “this was the moment where I thought everything was over.”
“And the weird thing about moments like these is that you lose all sense of time,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “In retrospect, maybe it was 4 seconds. Maybe it was 5 seconds, maybe it was 10 seconds. Maybe it was one second, I don’t know. It felt like my brain was able to have so many thoughts [in that moment].”
“In between the screams and the yells,” Ocasio-Cortez added, “I mean, I thought I was going to die.”
Via an Instagram video on February 1, Ocasio-Cortez elaborated further regarding the events on January 6:
- “All of a sudden I hear, boom, boom, boom, boom on my door. And then I hear these huge violent bangs on my door, and then on every door going into my office. Just, bang bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. Like, someone was trying to break the door down. And um, there were no voices; there were no yells … no one identifying themselves. And just, boom, boom, boom. And I just get up … and I run over to the legislative office.”
- The congresswoman continued her narrative by stating that she then ran into her bathroom before deciding she should seek refuge in her closet instead: “I start opening the door to my bathroom, and I’m gonna run across to the closet. …And I hear that whoever was trying to get inside, got into my office. And then I realize that it’s too late for me to get into the closet. So I go back in, I hide back in … and then I just start to hear these yells of, ‘Where is she? Where is she?’ And I just thought to myself, they got inside. And so, I hide behind my door. … This was the moment where I thought everything was over.”
- After breaking down in tears as she told her story on Instagram, Ocasio-Cortez revealed that, at that point, she saw a “white man in a black beanie,” who turned out to be a Capitol Police officer. But “it didn’t feel right,” she said, “because he was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility.” “Like so many other communities in this country,” she lamented, “just that presence [of a police officer] doesn’t give you a clear signal if you’re safe or not, so the situation did not feel OK.” The congresswoman said that even after her staffer told her that it was safe to come out, she was “so deeply rattled” and was “still processing the end of my life.”
But in fact, Ocasio-Cortez was never in any physical danger on January 6. In fact, she was not even inside the Capitol building during the crisis. She was in the Cannon House Office Building, three-tenths of a mile away. As RedState.com reports:
“AOC wasn’t even in the Capitol building where all the action was going down. If she was in her office, she was in the Cannon Building which is nearby, but a different building. But of course, many didn’t get the logistics and just assumed that she was in the Capitol building.
“According to Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who has an office in the same hall as AOC, two doors away, there were never any rioters in their hall so there was never any physical danger from rioters coming in at any point…. So her ‘near-death experience’ was an overreaction to a Capitol Police officer knocking on her door to direct her to another building, the Longworth Building, where she then stayed in the office of Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA). Instead of thanking the officer, she paints him as somehow a possible danger of which to be afraid.”
Accusing Republicans of Supporting “White Supremacy”
On January 13, 2021, Ocasio-Cortez, characterizing the January 6 occupation of the Capitol as a “coup” attempt headed by President Trump and Republicans, tweeted: “I don’t want to hear these coup-supporting GOP talk about ‘blue lives’ [police lives] ever again. They never cared about safety. Never cared about ‘law & order.’ And certainly do not care for democracy. They only care for power, & invited chaos in an effort seize it. They are unfit to serve.” Added the congresswoman: “If they [Republicans] actually cared about rule of law, they would speak up when people break the law. They would enforce fairness and equity but they don’t give a damn about the law. They don’t give a damn about order. They give a damn about white supremacy [and] about preserving the social order and the mythology of whiteness more than the grandeur of our democracy.” (Click here for video of an angry Ocasio-Cortez speaking the foregoing words on her Twitter page.)
On January 27, 2021, Ocasio-Cortez charged that “there are legitimate White supremacist sympathizers that sit at the heart and at the core of the Republican Caucus in the House of Representatives.”
Proposal for Funding to De-program White Supremacists / Conservatives
Conflating conservatives with white supremacists, Ocasio-Cortez, during a virtual town hall on January 15, 2021, asserted that the federal government should fund the psychological and ideological de-programming of such people. “The White supremacist cause is futile, it’s nihilist,” she declared. “Their world will never exist. That’s why we’re seeing violence [a reference to the siege of the Capitol] right now. We have to pick up those pieces…. There are people who are radicalized right now. It’s going to take a very long time to de-radicalize these people and a lot of effort. This is a problem that doesn’t go away on January 20,” a reference to the date when Trump was slated to leave the White House and be succeeded by President-elect Joe Biden. Asserting that many fringe conservative radicals operate in a “misinformation bubble,” the congresswoman said that “healing is possible” only if “we … double, triple or quadruple the funding for these [de-radicalization] programs.”
Accusing the NYPD of Racism after It Deploys Robotic Dog
In February 2021, Ocasio-Cortez accused the New York Police Department of racism after its newly deployed “Digidog,” a four-legged robotic drone created by Boston Dynamics, had been filmed responding to a home invasion in the Bronx. “Shout out to everyone who fought against community advocates who demanded these resources go to investments like school counseling instead,” the congresswoman tweeted. “Now robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with under-resourced schools.” She also argued that the money which had been used to construct the $75,000 robot should have been allocated instead to other purposes, writing: “Please ask yourself: when was the last time you saw next-generation, world class technology for education, healthcare, housing, etc consistently prioritized for underserved communities like this?”
In the aforementioned Bronx home invasion, the Daily Mail reported: “Two men were reportedly being held hostage in a Bronx apartment. They had been threatened at gun point, tied up and tortured for hours by two male assailants who pretended to be plumbers to gain access to the home. One of the victims managed to escape and called the police. Digidog was deployed and helped officers determine that the armed suspects were no longer inside the home.”
An NYPD spokesperson stated that the 70-pound quadrupedal drones enable police to see its surroundings “in real time,” and to conduct two-way communication with people at a crime scene. “This dog is going to save lives, protect people, and protect officers and that’s our goal,” said Technical Assistance Response Unit Inspector Frank Digiacomo.
Approving of Transgender Women Competing in Female Sports
During an Instagram live session on March 30, 2021, Ocasio-Cortez asked to comment about a newly enacted Arkansas law that banned biological men from participating in women’s sports. Lamenting what she called a “national attack on trans rights,” she stated that “bigoted laws” such as this were “oppressing” transgender people and were rooted in “ignorance.”
Ocasio-Cortez Blasts Police Over Shooting of Black Minnesotan Daunte Wright
Ocasio-Cortez was outraged by an April 11, 2021 incident where a white female police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota accidentally shot and killed a young black man named Daunte Wright, who was resisting arrest and attempting to flee. The congresswoman tweeted: “Daunte Wright’s killing was not a random, disconnected ‘accident’ – it was the repeated outcome of an indefensible system that grants impunity for state violence, rewards it w/ endlessly growing budgets at the cost of community investment, & targets those who question that order.” “Cameras, chokehold bans, retraining funds, and similar reform measures do not ultimately solve what is a systemic problem. That system will find a way – killings happen on camera, people are killed in other ways, retraining grows $ while often substituting for deeper measures,” she said in another post.
Using “Environmentalism” to Promote Wealth Redistribution Along Racial & Ethnic Lines via a Massive “Civilian Climate Corps”
In early May 2021, Ocasio-Cortez called for the establishment of a 1.5 million-person Civilian Climate Corps (CCC), whose members would receive on-the-job training and would work with community groups on federally funded projects designed to “reduce carbon emissions, enable a transition to renewable energy, build healthier and more resilient communities, implement conservation projects with proven climate benefits, and help communities recover from climate disasters.”
The concept of the CCC was modeled on the New Deal/Great Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps, a public relief initiative that provided conservation-related jobs for unemployed young men on rural lands owned by the federal government. If the CCC were to be created, it would fall under the purview of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent government agency that also administers AmeriCorps and a number of other national service programs.
From a strategic standpoint, the CCC would use the banner of environmentalism to advance the cause of wealth redistribution along racial and ethnic lines, as evidenced by the fact that, as Fox News reported, “at least 50% of the funding [for CCC] would be reserved for ‘environmental justice’ [nonwhite] communities, which would also provide at least 50% of the Civilian Climate Corps members,” and “another 10% of funding [for CCC] would be reserved for tribal communities.”
In a press conference where she introduced a bill proposing the creation of CCC along with Senator Ed Markey, Ocasio-Cortez said: “What we’re going to do is make sure communities like Flint, Baltimore, the South Bronx, St. Louis, rural communities whose infrastructure was never properly built in the first place, are first in line to rectify the injustices of the past and make sure they get everything they need to thrive in the future.” Meanwhile, an aide to Markey told Fox News that CCC’s creation would cost an estimated $10 billion and would be passed as part of the Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan.
Ocasio-Cortez Emphasizes “How Many Lives Planned Parenthood Has Saved”
During a virtual House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing titled “Birthing While Black: Examining America’s Black Maternal Health Crisis” on May 6, 2021, Ocasio-Cortez lauded Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, as an organization responsible for saving many lives. Said the congresswoman: “I don’t want to hear a single person on this committee or outside of this committee talk about valuing life when they continue to uphold the death penalty, when they continue to support policies that disproportionately incarcerate and lead to the deaths of black men and people throughout this country and uphold an absolutely unjust medical system that exists for profit that allows people to die because they can’t afford to live. If we want to talk about Planned Parenthood, let’s talk about how many lives Planned Parenthood has saved and how many babies have been born because of the prenatal care provided by Planned Parenthood.” “So if we are concerned about life,” Ocasio-Cortez added, “we don’t get to talk about anyone else who’s not concerned about the whole spectrum of that when we are upholding policies that kill people.”
Ocasio-Cortez Leads 35 House Democrats in Call to Change Immigration Policies That Target Gang Members for Deportation
In mid-May 2021, Ocasio-Cortez led a group of 35 House Democrats in writing a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Tae Johnson, demanding changes to immigration policies allegedly rooted in America’s “discriminatory legal system.” According to the 35 legislators, an interim enforcement memo issued by ICE: (a) did “not adequately protect the liberty interests of asylum seekers,” and (b) unjustifiably presumed that illegal migrants who had been convicted of aggravated felonies should necessarily be regarded as “border security and enforcement and removal priorit[ies].” “This blanket presumption will effectively mean detaining an untold number of people who have fled persecution,” the lawmakers wrote.
The letter further claimed that the “definition of an aggravated felony” was nothing more than a “relic of the racist War on Drugs.” “‘Aggravated felonies’ as a category have been designed to ensure that people have as few rights as possible to fight detention and deportation,” wrote Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues. “Moreover, we are concerned that the memorandum only requires ICE officers have a ‘good faith belief’ that someone has an aggravated felony conviction even while acknowledging that such a determination is ‘a complex question.’” The lawmakers also claimed that the ICE memo “invites racial profiling” by designating migrants convicted of participating in gang activities as “public safety enforcement and removal priorit[ies].” “We are in a moment of racial reckoning in this country, with communities across the country calling for an end to mass incarceration and racist policing,” the letter said. “It is time to end the carceral approach to immigration, which relies on these same flawed systems.”
Aside from Ocasio-Cortez, the 35 signatories to the letter included such notables as Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Jamaal Bowman, and Carolyn Maloney.
Conservative Offers Financial Help to Ocasio-Cortez’s Destitute Grandmother and Is Rebuffed
On June 2, 2021, Ocasio-Cortez used her Twitter account to share photos of her grandmother’s home in Puerto Rico that had been heavily damaged by Hurricane Maria in September 2017, and the congresswoman falsely accused former President Donald Trump of having failed to provide the necessary funds for hurricane relief. “Just over a week ago, my abuela fell ill,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. “I went to Puerto Rico to see her- my 1st time in a year+ bc of COVID. This is her [dilapidated] home. Hurricane María relief hasn’t arrived. Trump blocked relief $ for PR. People are being forced to flee ancestral homes, & developers are taking them.”
In response to Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet, Matt Walsh, a writer for the conservative website Daily Wire, launched a GoFundMe campaign titled “Save AOC’s Abuela’s Ancestral Home,” which raised $104,153 in just a few days. But the family rejected the money, prompting Walsh to write on Twitter: “‘Someone’ in AOC’s abuela’s family told GoFundMe that she won’t take the money, even though AOC previously claimed that her grandma was in dire straits (and it was Trump’s fault). @AOC still hasn’t acknowledged. Tragically this charitable effort has been sabotaged by forces outside of our control.” “Still I’m grateful for the outpouring of support for abuela,” Walsh added, “even if AOC isn’t. But questions remain: Why didn’t AOC help her own abuela? Why was our help turned down? We are left to speculate. In the end, our campaign raised 100 thousand dollars and could have solved a problem in ten hours that AOC couldn’t solve in four years. We can all be proud of that.” Walsh continued: “It’s pretty fascinating, really. We raised enough to change her grandmother’s life. We could have raised enough to lift her whole neighborhood out of poverty. AOC shut it down. She’d rather leave people to suffer than accept help from us. Very revealing episode.”
Supporting the Sunrise Movement’s Insurrection at the White House
On June 28, 2021, Sunrise Movement (SM) activists launched an insurrection at the White House, blocking every entrance to the building and demanding that the Biden administration put climate change-related initiatives — particularly those included in the massive infrastructure bill that was being negotiated in Congress — at the forefront of its agenda. Ocasio-Cortez voiced her approval of SM’s action, telling a crowd of supporters: “What we are here to tell them [the Biden administration] is that you can’t break this promise to us anymore. They’re setting up a world that they won’t have to live in. Ok, that’s why this matters. That’s why we fight.”
Blaming Black Olympic Athlete’s Suspension on Racism & Colonialism
In early July 2021, the International Olympic Committee suspended the black female runner Sha’ Carri Richardson for 30 days after she tested positive for marijuana use. Said Richardson in response: “I just want to take responsibility for my actions, I know what I did, I know what I’m supposed to do, I’m allowed not to do and I still made that decision. I’m not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case.” But Ocasio-Cortez, in a tweet, attributed the suspension to racism: “The criminalization and banning of cannabis is an instrument of racist and colonial policy. The IOC should reconsider its suspension of Ms. Richardson and any athletes penalized for cannabis use. This ruling along w/IOC denial of swim caps for natural hair is deeply troubling.”
Blaming the U.S. for Cuba’s Economic Problems
On July 14, 2021 — when massive pro-liberty protests in Cuba were in full swing — Ocasio-Cortez posted a statement on Twitter blaming “Trump-era restrictions” and the “absurdly cruel” U.S. embargo of Cuba for the island nation’s unrest. While voicing support for the protesters, she claimed that Cuba’s communist regime was not to blame for their troubles. “We also must name the U.S. contribution to Cuban suffering: our sixty-year-old embargo. Last month, once again, the U.N. voted overwhelmingly to call on the United States to lift its embargo on Cuba. The embargo is absurdly cruel and, like too many other U.S. policies targeting Latin Americans, the cruelty is the point…. It is never acceptable for us to use cruelty as a point of leverage against every day [sic] people.”
Defending Critical Race Theory
During a July 19, 2021 interview on CNN’s Don Lemon Tonight, Ocasio-Cortez spoke in defense of the teaching of Critical Race Theory in America’s public schools: “Why don’t you want our schools to teach anti-racism? Why don’t Republicans want their kids to know the tradition of anti-racism in the United States? Why are Republicans trying to ban books in this country? Why are Republicans trying to ban speech? Why are they trying to fire certain professors? Why are they attacking the core roots of history in this country that strays anything beyond what we already know? Why don’t Republicans want us to learn how to not be racist? Why don’t Republicans want kids to know how to not be racist?”
The congresswoman continued: “Republicans are using these words like Critical Race Theory, which again is a law school curriculum that is not even taught in schools. Their argument is well, some teachers may be exposed to it. Oh, wow, so your child’s teacher is anti-racist and actually fluent in how to dismantle racism in the dynamics of racism in a classroom. That is something that teachers should know how to do. Republicans are trying to ban this. They are trying to ban us from knowing our own history. Because if we don’t know our own history, then it is easier for them to curtail our rights to vote and take us backward to the 1960s as they have been doing with many state laws.”
Ocasio-Cortez also “the Republican base and party” of having “pivoted to using race and using the changing demographics of this country and as we saw on January 6, using a white supremacist core logic in order to reanimate a very core fear of the other in this country.”
Ocasio-Cortez Says She Wants “to Abolish Our Carceral System”
On July 24, 2021, Ocasio-Cortez, while campaigning for congressional hopeful Nina Turner in Ohio, called for the abolition of America’s carceral system. “I want to abolish our carceral system,” she said, charging that the system is “designed to trap Black and Brown men.”
Supporting “Defund the Police,” While Spending Tens of Thousands on Private Personal Security
An outspoken supporter of the “defund the police” movement, Ocasio-Cortez spent more than $33,000 on private security services for herself between January 2021 and June 2021, according to Federal Election Commission records. Most of that money — $28,498 — was paid to Three Bridges, LLC, a New York-based private security firm. Another $4,636 went to the Virginia-based Tullis Worldwide Protection, owned by former Blackwater contractor Devin Tullis.