U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., faced backlash Friday after seeming to develop a new accent while speaking to a predominantly black audience in New York City.
In an appearance at the annual convention of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, the freshman congresswoman responded to those who’ve invoked her past employment as a bartender in what she said were attempts to delegitimize her status as an elected official.
“I'm proud to be a bartender. Ain't nothing wrong with that,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “There's nothing wrong with working retail, folding clothes for other people to buy. There is nothing wrong with preparing the food that your neighbors will eat. There is nothing wrong with driving the buses that take your family to work. There is nothing wrong with being a working person in the United States of America and there is everything dignified about it."
“I'm proud to be a bartender. Ain't nothing wrong with that.”
She added that she feels “encouraged” when people remind her of her past because it shows that if she can “work in a restaurant and become a member of the United States Congress, so can you.”
Many on Twitter, however, said they detected that Ocasio-Cortez seemed to be speaking with a different “accent.”
Some even compared the self-described Democratic socialist to former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose dialect also seemed to shift on the campaign trail when spoke to different audiences.
Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to respond to the criticism, pointing to her upbringing in the Bronx and explaining that she talks differently when she’s “fired up.”
“As much as the right wants to distort & deflect, I am from the Bronx. I act & talk like it, *especially* when I’m fired up and especially when I’m home,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “It is so hurtful to see how every aspect of my life is weaponized against me, yet somehow asserted as false at the same time.”