AOC accuses House Republican of racism after he calls out 'squad of Ayatollah sympathizers'

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., suggested Thursday that a Republican colleague was racist for apparently calling her "squad" of progressive freshmen "Ayatollah sympathizers."

The exchange began after Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., accused Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., of lying when she claimed that a classified briefing on Iran failed to show President Trump had any evidence of an imminent threat when he killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

"I was in the same briefing as you, @RepJayapal, and this is absolutely false. You and your squad of Ayatollah sympathizers are spreading propaganda that divides our nation and strengthens our enemies," Rutherford tweeted.

It's unclear who exactly he was referring to but Ocasio-Cortez and others are frequently referred to as "the squad." His comments came as Republicans accused Democrats of defending Iran in the wake of Soleimani's death.

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Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter, claiming statements like that exposed Republicans as racist.

"I find it highly amusing that my coworkers angrily yell stuff like this and then clutch their pearls and cry when they are called out for their racism," she said.

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Jayapal also accused Rutherford of racism. "This is ONE of the MANY reasons we need more strong women of color in Congress. We don’t let racist tropes get in the way of speaking truth!" she tweeted.

Rutherford did not immediately respond on Twitter.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., another "Squad" member, similarly suggested Republican Jim Banks, R-Ind., was racist when he mocked her for saying she had post-traumatic stress disorder amid tumult in the Middle East.

"This is a disgrace and offensive to our nation’s veterans who really do have PTSD after putting their life on the line to keep America safe," Banks, a military veteran, tweeted. Omar responded by retweeting a post from Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., who knocked Banks for allegedly not criticizing white members who complained about PTSD from domestic violence.

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"On the house floor we have heard our white female colleagues talk about their PTSD from domestic violence. It’s odd that you never called them out," he said.

Omar also responded on Wednesday, telling Banks that she survived war as a child. "It's shameful that you as a member of Congress would erase the PTSD of survivors," she tweeted.