Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”
In an interview for 60 Minutes, the new congresswoman from New York went into detail about her political proposals and what it means to be a "newbie" in Washington.
Few people can say today that they don’t know who Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is.
After her unexpected victory in last spring's primaries over an established Democrat in the House, the new congresswoman has shifted the foundations of the American political system, initiating a phenomenon that frightens most conservatives, and inspires those who would like to see the United States on a more progressive path.
After being sworn in last week before Congress to represent New York's 14th district, Ocasio-Cortez sat down with Anderson Cooper (CBS) to answer a few questions.
The congresswoman left no room for doubt when calling President Trump "a racist", saying that while "the president certainly didn’t invent racism," he has “given a voice to it, and expanded it and created a platform for those things".
To Cooper's surprise, Ocasio-Cortez explained that "the words (the president) uses are historic dog whistles of white supremacy," and she highlighted his reaction to the events in Charlottesville in the summer of 2017, as well as his administration's overtly anti-immigrant agenda.
The congresswoman's pointed responses, and the strong positions she takes on issues, fuel the view many conservatives and Trump-friendly media hold when they call Ocasio-Cortez "a radical." To these critics, she responds: "I think that it only has ever been radicals that have changed this country."
"Abraham Lincoln made the radical decision to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the radical decision to embark on establishing programs like Social Security," she added. "If that’s what radical means, call me a radical."
Ocasio-Cortez made electoral promises that she intends to fulfill, and every day that passes her base grows exponentially, thanks in particular to her constant use of social media, through which she has transported her followers directly to the halls of Congress.
Her first days in Washington featured her participation in a protest organized by activists against climate change. Since then, she has campaigned for a Green New Deal that will bring the country down to zero use of fossil fuels in just twelve years.
Cooper wanted the congresswoman to explain where the funds would come from, and her response did not disappoint: the congresswoman explained with data in hand the effectiveness that a maximum marginal tax rate of up to 70 percent would have, a position that has many on the right up in arms.
Ocasio-Cortez is Republicans' favorite arch-nemesis thanks to her ability to argue coherently about the country's economic inequality which leans in favor of the most powerful companies and the wealthiest individuals.
Echoing proposals such as those promoted by Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez has called attention to the Pentagon's financial mistakes, the tax cut that Trump gave to the country's richest, and she has insisted on the government’s potential to finance Medicare For All.
These positions have won her constant attacks through digital platforms - including by the President's children - which the young woman has had to learn to rebuke on the fly.
During her interview, Ocasio-Cortez said that even when some insist on labeling her a "flamethrower", she considers herself a much more reasonable "consensus builder," though she warned that she knows how to defend herself.
"If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen," she concluded with a laugh.