WASHINGTON – Since her election to Congress last year, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has made a number of questionable comments and has become a lightning rod for conservative criticism.
Below are 10 of the most controversial comments the 29-year-old self-described Democratic-socialist lawmaker has made:
On conditions at ICE detention centers
“Now I’ve seen the inside of these facilities. It’s not just the kids. It’s everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members of Congress.”
– July 1, 2019, Twitter
Border Patrol Chief of Law Enforcement Operations Brian Hastings refuted AOC shortly thereafter in an interview with Fox News, saying that detainees are given fresh water to drink and that basic hygiene needs are met.
AOC later said that she was referring to a toilet-sink combo unit that she had seen while touring a Border Patrol detention facility in El Paso, Texas on Monday. She said that a woman being detained told her that the sink was not working and that she was told to drink from the toilet.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), who toured the same facility along with AOC and several other lawmakers, said at a news conference after Monday’s visit that more than a dozen Cuban women were being held in a cell that had no running water. “One of the women said that she was told by an agent to drink water out of the toilet,” he said.
ICE detention centers are “concentration camps”
“The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are. That is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps. The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the Home of the Free is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it.”
– June 17, 2019, Instagram video
Department of Homeland Security officials said in a recent report that some of the migrants may have been mistreated and that sanitary conditions were not always immediately available.
On Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his employees’ pay and benefits
“If his being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access health care … and on the fact that his workers take food stamps, so I’m paying for him to be a billionaire, I think it’s certainly a part of the equation. When you have a very large workforce and you underpay every single person and then you also participate in taking billions of dollars of government subsidies, that could be part of it.”
-June 16, 2019, interview with ABC’s “This Week”
Bezos later refuted AOC in a statement, saying that Amazon’s hourly pay starts at $15 and that employees receive comprehensive health, dental and vision plans.
On discussions among some Democrats about cutting aid to Israel
“I think it’s certainly on the table.”
AOC called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “Trump-like figure” and attributed Netanyahu’s democratic re-election in April to the “ascent of authoritarianism across the world.”
– April 14, 2019, Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast
“To me, capitalism is irredeemable.”
-March 9, 2019, South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas
On the defeat of an Amazon deal that would have brought an estimated 25,000 jobs to NYC
“Today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers and their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation and the power of the richest man in the world.”
– Feb. 17, 2019 Twitter
Some of the residents and elected officials in Long Island City had expressed concern that the facility would be too large for the area to accommodate and that Amazon may have misrepresented the number of jobs it said it would provide.
On Children and Climate Change
“There’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult. And it does lead young people to have a legitimate question: Is it okay to still have children?”
February 25, 2019, Instagram livestream
On the Threat of Climate Change
“Millennials and people, you know, Gen. Z and all these folks that will 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, and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?’ ”
AOC went on to say that for millennials, the effort to combat climate change is “our World War II.”
Jan. 20, 2019, NYC discussion forum in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
On criticism of her misstatement about Pentagon spending
“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.”
Jan. 6, 2019, interview with CBS 60 Minutes
Misstatement in defining the three branches of U.S. government
“If we 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. We can’t start working in 2020.”
Nov. 18, 2018, Instagram livestream