- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said those who attack her for misstatements she’s made are “missing the forest for the trees” and called President Donald Trump a “racist,” in an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday.
- The youngest woman ever elected to Congress has faced unprecedented scrutiny for a freshman lawmaker, and she said her critics are holding her to an unfair standard.
- “I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right,” Ocasio-Cortez said of her critics.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive New York Democrat who is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, said those who attack her for misstatements she’s made are “missing the forest for the trees,” and called President Donald Trump a “racist,” in an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday night.
The Bronx, New York native has faced unprecedented scrutiny for a freshman lawmaker. Fact-checkers and critics have jumped on several inaccurate and sweeping claims she’s made about the cost of programs she supports, like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
Ocasio-Cortez was criticized for saying in one July 2018 interview that the unemployment rate is low because “everyone has two jobs.” She told Cooper that the metric simply doesn’t reflect the lived experiences of many working-class Americans.
“I don’t think that that tells the whole story,” she said. “When you can’t provide for your kids working a full-time job, working two full-time jobs. When you can’t have healthcare. That is not – that is not dignified.”
“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,” she said. “I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.”
Ocasio-Cortez told reporter Anderson Cooper that those who’ve pilloried her occasional misstatements are overly focused on the semantics, and failing to engage with her ideas.
She also said that while she regrets her mistakes, she’s held to an unfair standard – particularly when compared to how the president is treated.
“Whenever I make a mistake. I say, ‘OK, this was clumsy,’ and then I restate what my point was. But it’s – it’s not the same thing as – as the president lying about immigrants. It’s not the same thing, at all.”
The 29-year-old lawmaker also said there’s “no question” the president is a racist.
“When you look at the words that he uses, which are historic dog whistles of white supremacy,” she said. “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.”
The lawmaker made waves on Friday when “60 Minutes” released a preview of the same interview, in which she voiced support for taxing the super rich – those who make above $10 million – at a 60 or 70% rate to help pay for ambitious public programs.
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