Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) once again found herself in trouble with Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler when he slapped her with “three Pinocchios” on Tuesday. She earned the dubious designation for making blatantly “misleading” statements filled with “red herrings and false equivalency” in targeting President Donald Trump.
Trump declared the opioid crisis to be a national public health emergency in October 2017. As a result, he directed federal agencies “to use every appropriate emergency authority to fight the opioid crisis.”
The president also declared the border crisis to be a national emergency in February 2019. Trump did so after congressional Democrats refused to give him the $5.7 billion he requested in wall funding to secure the border. He can divert approximately $8 billion in government funds to build the wall.
But Ocasio-Cortez took issue with Trump’s decision to transfer the money to border wall work.
She grilled James W. Carroll, director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, during a congressional hearing last week.
The congresswoman tweeted a C-SPAN clip of her exchange with Carroll on Friday. The original tweet read, “[email protected] @AOC compares #OpioidCrisis to #SouthernBorder: ‘So, we’ve got two emergencies, one is treated with an actual action and the other is just to raise awareness.'”
Ocasio-Cortez wrote in her retweet, “Amount President Trump has transferred from other agencies to fund his ‘Build the Wall’ Emergency: $10s of millions, & has identified billions more. Amount he’s transferred to address the Opioid National Emergency: $0.”
💰Amount President Trump has transferred from other agencies to fund his ‘Build the Wall’ Emergency: $10s of millions, & has identified billions more.
💰 Amount he’s transferred to address the Opioid National Emergency: $0 https://t.co/KamONSr67q
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 8, 2019
Kessler took issue with this tweet.
“Ocasio-Cortez is making a misleading comparison,” Kessler wrote in his fact check, which was published on Tuesday. “Trump has no need to transfer billions of dollars [to] the opioid emergency because Congress already has appropriated billions of dollars.”
“Trump’s backing of a national public-health emergency did more than raise awareness; it triggered a congressional response. So it’s the exact opposite of the standoff over the wall,” Kessler noted.
He also argued that “one can question the effectiveness of the Trump response to the opioid epidemic without resorting to red herrings and false equivalency.”
“Only in the most narrow technical way is her statement correct, so we cannot quite consider this a Four-Pinocchio claim. So Ocasio-Cortez earns three,” said Kessler.
But the progressive congresswoman does not like to have her passionate claims and sometimes questionable statements scrutinized and fact-checked.
Ocasio-Cortez has yet to combat Kessler on Twitter for his latest fact check. But she engaged in a Twitter spat with him back in January when she took issue with a story he published called, “Ocasio-Cortez’s misfired facts on living wage and minimum wage.”
Kessler addressed a claim she made during an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates on Martin Luther King Day, in which she insisted, among other things, that the “vast majority of the country doesn’t make a living wage.”
Kessler warned that the congresswoman “is sometimes fast and loose with her facts,” noting the “torrent of claims in the statement above [are] worthy of further scrutiny.”
Ocasio-Cortez complained, “Me: ‘I don’t think billionaires should concentrate wealth while employing people who are sleeping in cars working a zillion hours to survive.’ Next day: ‘That will be TEN PINOCCHIOS to Ocasio, ‘zillion’ is not a number and I found someone who sleeps in a tent, not a car.'”
Me: “I don’t think billionaires should concentrate wealth while employing people who are sleeping in cars working a zillion hours to survive.”
Next day: “That will be TEN PINOCCHIOS to Ocasio, ‘zillion’ is not a number and I found someone who sleeps in a tent, not a car.”
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 23, 2019
The two sparred back and forth on Twitter as Kessler doubled down — and Ocasio-Cortez tried to undermine the studies Kessler relied on to fact check her claims.
Check out more in the video below: