New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged Americans to demand rent suspensions and federal improvements to the U.S. health care system Friday night on Instagram, drawing a particularly angry response from her conservative critics.
Ocasio-Cortez posted several live stream videos Friday alongside her boyfriend Riley Roberts, as the self-quarantining couple discussed a wide range of topics about the country’s coronavirus response. The Democratic congresswoman asked rhetorically if any American had ever experienced — or even heard of — the federal government “doing too much” for average people in need.
But conservative critics of Ocasio-Cortez blasted her for describing the U.S. as a “brutal, barbarian society” for an overwhelming number of working-class Americans. In particular, right-wing pundits and media figures pointed out she was mixing a margarita as she demanded more action from fellow federal government lawmakers. Liquor stores have been deemed essential businesses throughout lockdown.
“Please continue to push and advocate for things like rent suspensions, payment suspensions, mortgage suspensions, the guaranteed housing,” Ocasio-Cortez said in her latest Instagram Live video posted Friday evening. “Everyone, we need to expand our public health care systems and drop the Medicare age to zero … whatever way we can get this done. Let’s get it done.”
“I mean honestly, have you ever had a point in your life where the federal government did too much for you? Where they gave you too much money? Never happened to me, I’ve never seen that in my life,” Ocasio-Cortez continued, as she could be seen pouring what appears to be a bottle of tequila and margarita mixer into a cup.
“Because when there are 10 million people who have just been suspended or laid off or furloughed from work their health insurance is imperiled. There’s no reason why you getting laid off from work should be the animating basis for you not being able to see a doctor. I can’t tell you how many times I went to the doctors and how many times I sat for hours — this is supposed to be the richest society in the world,” she added.
Ocasio-Cortez echoed many platform points of fellow progressive and close congressional ally, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, with her reiterating: “Health care is a human right, you shouldn’t get better health care because you have a higher position in work. Everyone should be able to have dignified access to health care.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s most consistent critics took the opportunity to point out she was a bartender before becoming elected to Congress — something she references frequently to illustrate her connection to middle- and working-class Americans.
“Join AOC as she makes margaritas and complains that the government doesn’t give away enough free stuff,” quipped the right-wing The Blaze network.
Actor and Ocasio-Cortez critic James Woods mocked the congresswoman by saying he enjoys “watching her slobber into the camera while she does house work on Instagram. Life’s little amusements in the midst of hell.”
Other conservative figures offered petty critiques and wrote off her remarks as a “rant.”
“AOC just wrapped up her Instagram live where she ranted about how elected officials aren’t doing enough all while she was… making a margarita,” reads a Saturday reply from Caleb Hull, a director at a right-leaning Washington-based political strategy group.
The congresswoman’s offices did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for additional comments or coronavirus response criticisms Saturday.