Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., took to social media Friday night for a “Cooking Q&A” to answer questions and update her followers on what is happening with COVID-19 relief – a practice she has exercised since entering office in 2018.
Ocasio-Cortez has used the sessions with her followers, as a time to vent and speak to her young base in a way officials in political office have never done in the past – something that members from both parties have been critical of.
But the New York Democrat, often deemed a socialist by her critics, used the opportunity to voice her frustration at Republicans who do not want to see communities re-shutdown as the pandemic spikes in regions across the country.
“Here’s what’s ironic to me, all these Republicans, all these people who were anti-shut down, were the same people who weren’t wearing masks, who forced us to shut down in the first place,” she said Friday night. “Shutdowns are not an inevitability, it’s not something that we want to do. It’s not something that anybody wants to do."
Ocasio-Cortez hit talking points that most Americans can relate with, particularly during the holiday season – but she disagreed with Republicans frustrated about the new lockdowns popping up in areas like southern California, and telling people “you better have been wearing a mask all damn year” if you’re going to complain about it.
“Nobody wants a shutdown, but the same people who are now anti-shutdown…were the same people who weren’t wearing masks -- who forced caseloads to be so high that we had to shut down areas to begin with,” she said while holding a lemon she had zested. “So if you’re anti-shutdown, you better have been wearing a mask all damn year, because don’t come to me and say you’re anti-shutdown when you’re spreading COVID all over the place, potentially.”
Ocasio Cortez said she was not just referring to the public in her frustration, but rather elected officials who have been vocal in their opposition to shutdowns.
The Democrat’s words come as Congress has yet to pass a coronavirus relief package since this summer, largely due to a fundamental disagreement over how much should be included in the package.
The Senate passed the $740 billion defense spending bill Friday, avoiding a government shutdown, but also passed a stopgap measure that allowed them to buy one-week worth of time to find a solution on COVID-19 relief as the holidays draw in on Americans struggling around the country.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have joined up in an effort to get Congress to approve another round of stimulus checks before the Congressional Christmas break.
“As elected officials, our job is to be first in modeling responsible behavior,” Ocasio Cortez said Friday night. “Because I can’t ask you to wear a mask if I’m not wearing a mask. I can’t ask you to take a vaccine if I’m not willing to take a vaccine.”