In an attempt to accuse Republicans of racism, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) accidentally reminded the country of that time several Democrats took a luxury vacation to Puerto Rico while thousands of federal workers were furloughed during the record-breaking partial government shutdown.
Ocasio-Cortez made the blunder while defending her fellow freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Omar, yet again, faces accusations of anti-Semitism because she claimed that those who support Israel have dual loyalties. This comment falls in line with the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism.
Although the State Department’s definition is clear, Ocasio-Cortez didn’t seem to understand why the dual loyalty comment by Omar was widely condemned when other comments she has heard go without response.
Loaded with anecdotal evidence, she took to Twitter to explain why the world was overreacting to Omar’s comments.
One of the things that is hurtful about the extent to which reprimand is sought of Ilhan is that no one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx + other communities (during the shutdown, a GOP member yelled “Go back to Puerto Rico!” on the floor). https://t.co/MwrRN4v4DG
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
On the surface, someone shouting “go back to Puerto Rico” at members of the Hispanic Caucus would be very problematic, but Ocasio-Cortez left out a key detail. The caucus took a vacation to Puerto Rico during the shutdown.
As IJR previously reported, 30 members of the caucus went on the trip with lobbyists to catch the opening night of the musical “Hamilton.” The caucus defended the trip, claiming that they were there to do a humanitarian check-in on Puerto Rico following the 2018 hurricane.
Many people were quick to remind Ocasio-Cortez that the comment she heard during the shutdown were not racially charged, rather they likely referenced the lobbyist-filled vacation from the Hispanic Caucus.
I’m sorry, but “go back to Puerto Rico” was in reference to where the Dems had been vacationing during the shutdown. It’s also a little bit different than ‘the Jews are disloyal to America.’ No? https://t.co/R40t3kjcHM
— Adam Rubenstein (@RubensteinAdam) March 5, 2019
The GOP member yelled, "Go back to Puerto Rico!" because the 30 Democrat legislators spent the shutdown vacationing with lobbyists in Puerto Rico. https://t.co/MFXB7UcJXe
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) March 5, 2019
Telling a Mexican-American Democrat ***who just led a junket to Puerto Rico during a government shutdown** to go back to Puerto Rico bears exactly zero resemblance to accusing Jewish Americans of dual loyalty. https://t.co/mCUm5jiAlX
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) March 5, 2019
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) March 5, 2019
Although Omar has Ocasio-Cortez on her side, each anti-Israel comment she makes drives members of her party further away. As IJR previously reported, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) joined other House Democrats in condemning Omar’s comments after she tweeted that support for Israel as all about “the Benjamins.”
On Monday, several Jewish coalitions called on Speaker Pelosi to remove Omar from her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee so that her personal views of Israel will not impact U.S. policy.