The so-called "squad" of progressive freshman lawmakers have rallied around their leader, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., as they blasted a "horrifying" attack ad that showed a burning image of her face.
"Republicans are running TV ads setting pictures of me on fire to convince people they aren’t racist, Life is weird!" Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Thursday night.
She went on to describe the ad as an appeal to white supremacists."Know that this wasn’t an ad for young conservatives of color - that was the pretense. What you just watched was a love letter to the GOP’s white supremacist case," she tweeted.
The ad, released by the Republican New Faces PAC on Thursday, showed the burning image giving way to a photo of skulls symbolizing the death and destruction wrought by the communist regime in Cambodia.
Narrating the ad, a woman of apparently Cambodian descent described Ocasio-Cortez as the "face of socialism."
"This is horrifying to watch," Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., tweeted on Friday. "When will the Republicans learn how to offer ideas and solutions without stroking fear and inciting violence?" she asked.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., also blasted the ad as "dangerous and reckless." "It’s getting old to say ‘this is a new low’ but here we are. A televised death threat against a member of Congress paid for by a Republican SuperPac," she said before praising Ocasio-Cortez.
Both Omar and her fellow "Squad" member, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., targeted broadcasters like Sinclair, the owner of the ABC affiliate that showed the ad during the Democrats' third primary debate. ABC was also the network that hosted Thursday night's debate and then became the target of a boycott campaign after the ad aired.
"Exactly my thoughts," she tweeted in response to a reporter asking how the ad met ABC's standards. "The mere act of burning her image is a display of violence. Folks need to stick to facts & policy positions. They need to stop fear mongering & more importantly demonizing members of Congress. FYI: No one puts her residents (and our planet) first, like @AOC," Tlaib added.
Omar, for her part, called for an apology from Sinclair and called for the company to "pull this garbage off the air."
"GOP's Message: No No policy, no facts, just displays of violence + corporations like @ABCNetwork & Sinclair who amplify them," Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter. She went on to accuse the companies of profiting from "burning my likeness on TV."
She also ridiculed what she described as Republicans' attempts to "scare" people with the communist label.
Amid the controversy, #BoycottABC began trending on Twitter with torrents of people criticizing the network.