Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., argued President Trump’s rebuke of a new generation of Democrats and socialists during his second State of the Union address Tuesday evening was a no more than a desperate effort to lash out because he feels he is “losing on the issues.”
During his 82-minute speech, Trump said “we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country” and pledged that America will “never be a socialist country.”
Asked to react during an interview on MSNBC, Ocasio-Cortez said it is liberal Democrats who have come up with ideas that are popular among Americans, pointing to talk of a 70 percent marginal tax rate and expanded government-financed healthcare.
She said Trump resorted to an “ad hominem attack” to distract from his struggles on certain issues, including securing funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. “I think he sees himself losing on the issues, he sees himself losing on the wall in the southern border, and he needs to grasp at an attack and this is his way of doing it,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old who made history in November by becoming the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, characterized Trump’s clashes with Democrats and their liberal policy ideas as a fight between an “authoritarian regime versus democracy.”
“In order for him to try to dissuade or throw people off the scent of the trail, he has to really make and confuse the public. And I think that that’s exactly what he’s trying to do,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez was one of the many female lawmakers who donned white Tuesday in a nod to the women’s suffrage movement. Notably, as Trump touted how women “have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year” and the record number of women in Congress — most of newly elected members being Democrats — Ocasio-Cortez and many of her colleagues in white stood up and cheered.
Still, reviewing Trump’s speech as a whole, Ocasio-Cortez said the president was “unprepared.”
“There was no plan to address our opioid crisis, there was no plan to address the cost of healthcare, there was no plan to increase wages. I had to ask myself, is this a campaign stop or is this a State of the Union?” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez was joined for the interview by her guest for the evening, Ana Maria Archila, the Queens woman who last year confronted then-Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., outside an elevator on Capitol Hill to urge him to vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh due to the allegations of sexual assault he faced.