Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) doubled down on his reference to New York socialist congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as “this girl Ocasio-Cortez or whatever she is” during an interview Wednesday on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
DeSantis (pictured above left) told Fox News Host Bill Hemmer that “It’s not about identity politics, Bill, and I would note she referred to herself as ‘a girl from the Bronx’ on Stephen Colbert’s show. She said Trump can’t handle ‘a girl from the Bronx.’ So this is just political correctness run amok.”
Mainstream media members and Democratic lawmakers caused an uproar when comments DeSantis made during a Florida gubernatorial campaign event Saturday surfaced this week.
The Huffington Post published the video clip of DeSantis’ remarks in a piece Monday headlined “GOP Congressman Calls Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ‘This Girl … Or Whatever She Is.'”
“You look at this girl Ocasio-Cortez or whatever she is, I mean, she’s in a totally different universe,” DeSantis said in the clip Saturday. “It’s basically socialism wrapped in ignorance.”
Ocasio-Cortez (pictured above right) stunned observers in June by defeating 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), the heavily funded chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, in the state’s 14th district.
The 28-year-old, first-time political candidate is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and worked as a bartender less than a year ago. It didn’t take long for Ocasio-Cortez to be seen as a “rising star in her party,” as the Huffington Post highlighted.
Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter Monday to call out DeSantis while tweeting out the Huffington Post’s story.
“Rep DeSantis, it seems you‘re confused as to ‘whatever I am.’ I am a Puerto Rican woman. It’s strange you don’t know what that is, given that ~75,000 Puerto Ricans have relocated to Florida in the 10 mos since María. But I’m sure these new FL voters appreciate your comments!” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
Rep DeSantis, it seems you‘re confused as to “whatever I am.”
I am a Puerto Rican woman. It‘s strange you don’t know what that is, given that ~75,000 Puerto Ricans have relocated to Florida in the 10 mos since María.
But I’m sure these new FL voters appreciate your comments! https://t.co/xJlroSe5Hs
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) July 23, 2018
The congressional candidate received an outpouring of support from fellow liberals and her likely future congressional colleagues. Her district is one of the most heavily Democratic in the country.
Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), urged Americans on Twitter to elect more women to Congress “where men make up over 80% of the body” so “we don’t have to put up with comments and attitudes like this.”
This ‘girl or whoever she is’ is my future colleague from Queens who will serve with me in Congress where men make up over 80% of the body. And we’re working to elect more women so we don’t have to put up with comments and attitudes like this.@Ocasio2018 https://t.co/de5ksLqWj8
— Grace Meng (@Grace4NY) July 24, 2018
Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) insisted that DeSantis was “certainly not fit to be governor”of Florida after “dismissing a candidate like” Ocasio-Cortez “because of gender or age.”
— US Rep Brendan Boyle (@RepBrendanBoyle) July 24, 2018
But DeSantis was defiant Wednesday when he defended his comment and reacted to Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to call him out on Twitter directly.
“Again, she’s trying to play identity politics. I don’t care whether she’s Puerto Rican, whether she’s Anglo-Saxon, I don’t care whether she’s an Eskimo. Socialism doesn’t work. And it’s wrong,” DeSantis said.
“And you know what? I would say there’s probably a stronger aversion to socialism among some of our Hispanic populations in Florida than even the broader population,” he added.
DeSantis accused Ocasio-Cortez of trying to “obscure scrutiny on her views, which are socialist and they’re wrapped in ignorance,” by resorting to politically correct complaints of sexism and ageism.
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“In Florida … we have more people probably than any other state who have fled socialism — places like Cuba, Venezuela,” DeSantis said. “We understand socialism doesn’t work. And when you’re justifying it by saying the unemployment rate is low because people are working multiple jobs, it just shows you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
DeSantis also said that another reason he brought up Ocasio-Cortez during his campaign event was “because she had been slamming Israel repeatedly throughout her campaign.”
Ocasio-Cortez tripped herself up during a recent PBS News interview in which she slammed Israel for the “occupation” of Palestine. But when pressed further about what she meant, Ocasio-Cortez backed off, admitting that she is “not the expert on geopolitics on this issue.”
“She was talking about the Israeli occupation of Palestine. But there’s no Palestinian state, there never has been a Palestinian state. She was asked to justify those views, and she couldn’t justify her views,” DeSantis said.
“So if you’re slamming one of our strongest allies and you’re doing so based on really no knowledge whatsoever, I think the socialism and the ignorance is a toxic combination,” he said.