Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., knows how to grab attention and strike a nerve.
She did both Monday after showing up at the ritzy Met Gala in New York City in a white dress with "TAX THE RICH" on her back in huge red letters.
The proud Democratic socialist's splashy appearance at the $35,000-a-ticket party drew outrage, derision, and amusement from her critics, with many pointing out the irony of a self-proclaimed people's champion sending such a message at one of the most elite events in the world.
"'Tax the Rich' … But first I'm gonna go have the time of my life partying with them all at the most extravagant over the top party of the year that is essentially a celebration of richness," Barstool Sports' Dave Portnoy wrote.
"AOC wanted to hang out with a bunch of rich celebs at a cool party without losing her socialist street cred so she tossed ‘Tax the Rich’ on the back of her dress & called it a day," the Washington Examiner's Jerry Dunleavy wrote. "It's not much more complicated than that."
Donald Trump Jr. branded Ocasio-Cortez a "fraud" for the dress and her decision to not wear a mask, at least on the red carpet.
The nation's wealthiest Americans are already heavily taxed. In 2018, the top 1% of taxpayers – defined as those with adjusted gross income above $540,009 – earned 20.9% of all adjusted gross income (AGI) and paid 40.1% of all federal income taxes, according to data from the Tax Foundation.
"You could tax the rich out of existence -- bleed them dry, take every penny -- and you would still not have enough to fund an AOC-envisioned government," National Review's Jay Nordlinger tweeted. "The rich provide an easy target to populists and other demagogues. 'Daddy Warbucks will pay.' What a con. Reprehensible."
Conservative satire site The Babylon Bee took a victory lap after joking in December that Ocasio-Cortez would sell ‘Tax the Rich’ caviar for $10,000 a can.
New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait wondered what Ocasio-Cortez had done wrong or how she was hypocritical with her showy dress.
"It's not wrong, it just captures – unintentionally and hilariously – the core desires of her political base," Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle wrote.
The Dispatch's Jonah Goldberg accused her of "buying into the vulgar wealth culture she claims to oppose while getting all its benefits."
Ocasio-Cortez told host Ilana Glazer at a red-carpet interview for Vogue's online broadcast that the dress was about breaking the "fourth wall" and challenging institutions.
When [designer] Aurora [James] and I were first kind of partnered, we really started having a conversation about what it means to be working-class women of color at the Met, and we said we can’t just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall and challenge some of the institutions," Ocasio-Cortez said.
Ocasio-Cortez had her share of supporters in the media, too. One journalist gushed she was "simply iconic."
Unsurprisingly, Vogue, the left-leaning fashion magazine that organizes the annual gala, framed Ocasio-Cortez's fashion choice as stunning and brave.
"And since she was at fashion’s glitziest night, surrounded by some of the most powerful and famous people in the world, what better medium to get her message out about taxing the rich than, well, to have it written in red on her dress?" Vogue wrote, adding, "Ocasio-Cortez is far from the only politician to attend the Met Gala—Hillary Clinton came in 2001—but she is the only one who has used her time on the carpet to make a controversial political message. Of course, who else in Washington would dare?"
Ocasio-Cortez had a message to her "haters" after the dress created a volcanic eruption online.
"New York elected officials are routinely invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing and supporting the city’s cultural institutions for the public. I was one of several in attendance in this evening," she tweeted.