Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., slammed Rush Limbaugh, who was recently was diagnosed with cancer, as a “racist" on social media late Tuesday, saying he “cheapens” the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
AOC didn’t attend President Trump's State of the Union address, claiming it would have legitimized what she saw as lawless conduct under his administration. But she offered her thoughts on Limbaugh receiving the honor to her 4.2 million Instagram followers with a streaming video.
“First of all, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is an extraordinarily sacred award. We’re talking about putting someone on the same level as Rosa Parks, for example, in terms of their contributions to American progress,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Rush Limbaugh is a virulent racist.”
Limbaugh stunned his 20-million member audience Monday with the announcement he’s been diagnosed with “advanced lung cancer.” He told listeners that the disease will keep him off the air on certain days when he’ll receive treatment.
Trump responded by inviting the conservative icon to the State of the Union address, where first lady Melania Trump then presented the medal and placed the award on Limbaugh – who was visibly emotional.
Ocasio-Cortez was not moved.
“To do it in the middle of a State of the Union, and not even dignify it with its own ceremony, as it has, there is all sorts of norms that are being violated," she said. "Not just for people’s humanity but also, it truly just cheapens the value of it.”
Ocasio-Cortez then mocked Limbaugh for “pretending to be surprised,” calling his reaction to receiving the prestigious honor “such a joke.” The White House had announced Limbaugh as a guest of the president earlier Tuesday.
“He had to like, pretend that this was some kind of Oprah moment, was so disingenuous, and to do that, and to give it to Rush Limbaugh when there were plenty of people in that audience that have contributed positively to the fabric of American society, much more, frankly, than he has, it’s red meat to his base,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Trump knows what he’s doing… he wants to assert that Rush Limbaugh is somehow on the same level as Rosa Parks, and it’s truly nauseating.”
Fox News’ Sam Dorman and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.