‘No middle ground’: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams Joe Biden over climate change at a Green New Deal town hall in DC

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
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Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • Far-left Democrats participated in a town hall on climate change hosted by the Sunrise Movement, an activist group pushing for the Green New Deal.
  • Speakers repeatedly made jabs at Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
  • When someone in the audience shouted “no middle ground,” Ocasio-Cortez responded, “No middle ground is right.”
  • Reports last week of a Biden plan that would take a “middle ground” approach to climate change were criticized heavily by other Democrats.
  • Biden never used the words “middle of the road” to describe his approach to climate policy, and his campaign has yet to release a formal policy proposal.
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WASHINGTON – An activist group trying to advance the Green New Deal and expansive reforms to the US economy to fight global climate change hosted a town hall Monday night in which many speakers took both subtle and overt jabs at the Democratic frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Democrats on the far-left have repeatedly criticized Biden for being too moderate on certain issues.

A report in Reuters last week indicated the Biden campaign would soon release its own climate change plan, utilizing a former fossil fuel industry executive and calling for a “middle ground” approach. The Democratic base was incensed at the suggestion that an effective climate change plan could stake a “middle ground,” according to Biden adviser Heather Zichal. Biden himself has not used the phrase.

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The Sunrise Movement hosted the town hall at Howard University in Washington, DC. Sunrise is an activist organization demanding implementation of the Green New Deal, which would provide sweeping changes to the US economy to curtail greenhouse gasses. The group also routinely stages protests in Washington to get their message across.

During the town hall, which featured a handful of lawmakers and activists, references to Biden and the reported climate change proposal kept coming up.

“So often, when folks particularly conservatives on both sides of the aisle, when they say that calling for a Green New Deal is ‘too much or too extreme or too radical,'” said Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

At that point someone in the audience shouted “no middle ground,” to which Ocasio-Cortez responded, “No middle ground is right.”

“Because I’m curious. I’m always curious when they say that oh it’s too much,” she added. “What do they actually mean by that? Is 100 percent clean and renewable energy too much? Is fighting for dignified jobs that pay people enough to live too much?”

Read more: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez replaces Nancy Pelosi as Republicans’ new boogeyman for 2020

Later in her speech, Ocasio-Cortez made a subtle jab at Biden again.

“I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act then come back today and say we need a ‘middle of the road’ approach to save our lives,” she said.

Others took direct aim at Biden during the nearly three-hour long event.

Alexandra Rojas, who serves as executive director of Justice Democrats – a left-wing group that actively tries to replace moderate Democrats with more liberal ones in the mold of Ocasio-Cortez – asked the crowd, “Who here liked it when Joe Biden said he was middle of the road on climate policy?”

The crowd responded with boos, though Biden never used the words “middle of the road” to describe his approach to climate policy. The Biden campaign has yet to release a formal policy proposal.

Varshini Prakash, a co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, slammed Democratic presidential candidates who have not formally endorsed the Green New Deal, calling the decision not to a “death sentence for our generation.”

While the event also prominently featured Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has often been critical of Biden, he avoided any direct jabs at the former vice president.