Politics

Ocasio-Cortez Attributes Hurricane Maria Crisis to Climate Change and ‘Colonial Relationship’

In an extended talk-show appearance, the Democratic socialist made a number of other rather dubious claims

Image Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democratic socialist candidate for the House, addressed several issues on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning, including the people and circumstances that are to blame for Hurricane Maria, how she plans to pay for the estimated $40 trillion cost of her proposed socialist agenda — and the likelihood that Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged accuser could be just one of many.

It turns out she was only getting warmed up.

“My grandfather was in a medical facility, and he had passed away in the middle of the night,” Ocasio-Cortez told host Jake Tapper.

She offered no further detail on the circumstances of her relative’s passing — but noted that children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable in such situations.

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She called the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico “the worst humanitarian crisis in modern American history.”

“Many, many people point to government inaction as the cause of death,” she said to Tapper, citing 3,000 casualties as the death toll of the storm.

“There is a systemic issue here, and that is the modern-day colonial relationship that the United States has with Puerto Rico,” she said. Her mother is Puerto Rican.

“Puerto Rican citizens … are treated in complete[ly] different ways as normal American citizens are and, for that reason, you do have the chronic neglect of the island,” she maintained. “It is acute situations like this in which Puerto Ricans continue to be treated like second-class citizens.”

She also said, “Puerto Rico was given a fraction of the FEMA recovery” — and compared it to aid provided for victims of Hurricane Harvey. “And this is not just an issue of the colonial status of Puerto Rico, but it is also an issue of us not treating and dedicating enough resources to addressing climate change enough, either.”

She added that while Puerto Ricans cannot vote for president and don’t have representation in the House or the Senate, they “continue to suffer at the hands of this administration.”

As for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s calling her win a “fluke,” citing his 31-point wallop of Ocasio-Cortez-endorsed candidate Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary this past Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez said, “New York had a profound tidal change, really, in the Democratic party. One out of every five Democratic senators got replaced on Thursday night.”

“Cynthia Nixon did a phenomenal job,” she also said, after which Tapper reminded her that Nixon lost by 31 points.

Left-leaning groups friendly to Ocasio-Cortez socialist policies have set the price tag for her various menu items at more than $40 trillion over the next decade.

Tapper cited estimates from George Mason University, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Asked how she would finance the policies she favors — such as Medicare for All, a federal jobs guarantee, free college, paid family leave, and Social Security expansion — Ocasio-Cortez cited unspecified “savings” from millennials who would be encouraged to participate in the economy more fully.

Tapper’s face during this explanation made plain that the answers Ocasio-Cortez was providing were not what he was looking for, exactly.

She insisted that programs such as Medicare for All are not pie in the sky.

Rather, she suggested that they are accomplished by “every modern civilized democracy in the Western world.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who was herself working in a restaurant a year ago, said she asked other restaurant workers if they had health insurance, which none of them did. She cited this clearly unscientific and personal survey of hers as evidence that Medicare for All would lower the cost of unspecified programs.

“So I’m assuming I’m not getting an answer for the other $38 trillion,” said Tapper, who repeatedly invited Ocasio-Cortez to account for how she would finance the programs. He did not get any answers beyond the $2 trillion, which she plans to net from raising taxes.

Asked if Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh deserves the benefit of the doubt, #MeToo movement supporter Ocasio-Cortez said, “First of all, Brett Kavanaugh should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court under any circumstances, regardless and independent of these accusations.”

Earlier this week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) revealed the existence of a letter in which an anonymous woman accused Kavanaugh of sexual impropriety at the age of 17.

Kavanaugh has vigorously denied such claims.

“He should certainly not be confirmed before this is explored,” Ocasio-Cortez said, citing “due process” and “due justice.”

Tapper pushed back, noting, as many others have, that Kavanaugh was denied due process — since the anonymous accusation was not raised in the public confirmation hearing, nor in the written requests for comment, nor during the private and closed session of the judiciary committee.

“What is going on right now is that there is not due process, and we are looking at brushing a potentially and extremely concerning incident under the rug,” she said.

“The Democrats had this information in July, but it didn’t come out until a few days ago,” said Tapper.

“We talk about process, due process and justice — it must center on the victim,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

“Often when it comes to behaviors of sexual assault, they are not one-off incidents. They are repeated … If her account is true, there could potentially be other victims out there that are scared to come forward,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

“Does the accused deserve any due process as well?” asked Tapper directly.

“What is going on right now is that there is not due process, and we are looking at brushing a potentially and extremely concerning incident under the rug,” she said.

She then pointed out that while Republicans had failed to disclose certain Kavanaugh documents, they had demanded document revelation for Democratic nominees for the high court.

She cited as examples both Sonia Sotomayor and Merrick Garland.

Garland, of course, never went through the confirmation process.

“They want to kind of hide almost everything from Brett Kavanaugh’s history,” she said.

See these responses to her appearance — then see the video below:

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.

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