How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Strikes Back at Her Critics

The congresswoman-elect turns each attack into a chance to show her social-media deftness.

ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

On Monday, CNBC published an investigation into the personal finances of New York congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which revealed that the 29-year-old has less than $7,000 in savings.

The story, which was roundly criticized as condescending, ultimately determined that while normal for her age and background, Ocasio-Cortez’s finances were far from ideal. “I hope, now that she will be making $174,000 in the House, she will save more of her money,” one financial planner told CNBC. “Washington is an expensive place to live, though.”

The story came days after a reporter from the conservative Washington Examiner tweeted a photo of Ocasio-Cortez and questioned how the Bronx native could afford to buy the black jacket she was wearing. “I’ll tell you something: that jacket and coat don’t look like a girl who struggles,” the reporter, Eddie Scarry, wrote in the since-deleted tweet.

These pseudo-scandals add to a rapidly expanding list of conservative attacks directed at Ocasio-Cortez since she stunned the political world in June by unseating Rep. Joe Crowley, a powerful 10-term incumbent, in the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District. The attacks, which are regularly featured on Fox News, often rely on sexism or stereotypes of what economic struggle should look like in hopes of undermining Ocasio-Cortez’s progressive credentials.

But Ocasio-Cortez has turned nearly every new salvo aimed in her direction into an opportunity to demonstrate her deftness at shutting down critics, especially on social media. Here’s her response on Tuesday, one day after CNBC published its story:

The retort not only dismisses the attention paid to her personal finances; it also demands that the spotlight be cast on far more consequential issues, including evidence that President Donald Trump’s family engaged in illegal schemes to avoid paying taxes. (That bombshell investigation was swallowed up in the relentless news cycle.)

Soon after, Ocasio-Cortez also struck back at Sarah Palin, after the former governor of Alaska linked to a story claiming Ocasio-Cortez had fumbled a “basic civics” statement. 

And here she is in July after a conservative pundit posted a photo of a house she grew up in. “A far cry from the Bronx hood upbringing she’s selling,” John Cardillo wrote, as if he had uncovered damaging intel that destroyed Ocasio-Cortez’s personal story. This was her sharp response:

It’s safe to assume that the political spotlight will remain on Ocasio-Cortez, and likely intensify, as she takes her place in Congress in January. But each new attack gives Ocasio-Cortez a chance to hone her social media presence—a respite from the daily, far less artful Twitter mutterings of the president.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate