In a wide-ranging profile that aired Sunday on 60 Minutes, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said there was “no question” that President Donald Trump was a racist with a history of using “historic dog-whistles of white supremacy.”
“When you look at the words that he uses … 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 night and day,” Ocasio-Cortez explained to correspondent Anderson Cooper.
With Charlottesville, Ocasio-Cortez was referring to the president’s remarks after a counter-protestor was murdered at a far-right rally in Virginia in 2017. In the aftermath, Trump said there was “blame on both sides.”
At the same time, Ocasio-Cortez said on Sunday, “I think he’s a symptom of a problem.”
“The president certainly didn’t invent racism, but he’s certainly given a voice to it and expanded it and created a platform for those things,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old democratic socialist representing parts of New York City, is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
With unabashedly progressive politics and a deft hand at social media — where she is unafraid to clap back at critics, debate detractors and post playful dance videos, among more typical statements about policy — Ocasio-Cortez has broken onto the national stage less than a year after winning her primary.
“I genuinely do not think of politics and the world in terms of enemies or allies or like permanent enemies or permanent allies,” she told Cooper on 60 Minutes. “I always think of things in terms of issues.”
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“I know that when the sun sets on my life, I want to be able to tell my grandchildren that we established a single-payer system, tuition-free universities and that we saved our climate for their future,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Because we decided to be courageous in the moment and make it happen.”
When Cooper challenged some of Ocasio-Cortez’s policy positions as possibly unrealistic in how they might be funded, she replied, “We pay more per capita in health care and education for lower outcomes than many other nations. And so for me, what’s unrealistic is — is what we’re living in right now.”
“No one asks how we’re gonna pay for this Space Force. No one asked how we paid for a $2 trillion tax cut,” she said. “We only ask how we pay for it on issues of housing, healthcare and education. How do we pay for it? With the same exact mechanisms that we pay for military increases for this Space Force. For all of these ambitious policies.”
According to 60 Minutes, a White House spokesperson rebuked Ocasio-Cortez’s “sheer ignorance” and highlighted Trump’s recent signing of a “historic” criminal justice reform bill supported by both Democrats and Republicans.
“[Trump] has repeatedly condemned racism and bigotry in all forms,” the White House told 60 Minutes.