Ocasio-Cortez's Comments on Trump Cause a Ruckus

Congresswoman says there's 'no question' president is a racist
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2019 2:12 PM CST
Ocasio-Cortez's Comments on Trump Cause a Ruckus
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y, and Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., stand together on the House floor.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – The highest-profile member of the new Congress continues to make headlines, the latest coming in a Sunday interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes. In the interview, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez embraces the description of herself as a "radical" on issues including the environment and income inequality, but much of the attention is focused on her unequivocal assertion that President Trump is a racist. Details and related developments:

  • The exchange: "Do you believe President Trump is a racist?" Cooper asks. "Yeah, yeah, no question," she responds. See the video.
  • The elaboration: When asked how she could say that, Ocasio-Cortez responds: "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."
  • Whoopi weighs in: On the View Monday, Whoopi Goldberg had this to say of the congresswoman in regard to the wide-ranging interview: "I know you got lots of good ideas, but I would encourage you to sit still for a minute and learn the job." And she added, per Mediaite: "Before you start pooping on people and what they’ve done, you got to do something, too."

  • In support: On the racism issue, Ryan Bort of Rolling Stone finds more fault with Anderson Cooper's incredulity than with Ocasio-Cortez's assertion. "As long as there is even a sliver of plausible deniability that Trump is a white supremacist, the mainstream is going to find any way it can to live inside of it, lest it admit something deeply uncomfortable."
  • Out of bounds: Apparently, Ocasio-Cortez thinks that respecting the flag and the national anthem, and supporting law enforcement are "dog whistles," writes Matt Vespa at Townhall. He wants conservative journalists to press her on this. "Any outwards displays of respect and deference to those who serve in our military and patriotic expressions are not dog whistles. The vast majority of the country would agree."
  • In support, II: Jack Holmes of Esquire details Trump's own words and actions that he says prove the congresswoman's point on racism, and he, too, wonders why Cooper seemed so perplexed. "Mainstream media types must do a better job of always prioritizing the truth, and putting claims and events in accurate context, over concerns that they'll be accused of bias."
  • A larger criticism: In a look at the interview as a whole, Aaron Blake of the Washington Post faults Ocasio-Cortez "for minimizing her falsehoods," as when Cooper called her out for a misstating facts about Pentagon waste. She acknowledged the mistake but suggested she was "morally right." Blake complains: "She’s practically saying, 'Well, maybe I was wrong, but at least my cause is just.'" And the problem, he adds, is that Trump himself does very much the same thing.
  • 5 key moments: Vox runs down its highlights from the interview, including Ocasio-Cortez's defense of her own expensive proposals. Why, she asks, are we so concerned about paying for a housing or health care plan but not about paying for something like the Space Force?
  • From the right: Her critics on the right say the congresswoman has overstated her urban roots. This post at Gateway Pundit, for example, complains that she "went by 'Sandy' well into college at Boston University."
(Last week, it was all about her dancing.)

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