Ocasio-Cortez claims have fact-checkers working overtime

New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has excited the liberal base with her media blitz touting Medicare-for-all, the elimination of ICE and more.

But the Democrat's rapid-fire claims about the state of the economy and other issues have fact-checkers scrambling to provide a reality check.

The Washington Post was the latest to put her myriad claims under the microscope.

The newspaper took issue, for instance, with her claim that unemployment is low “because everyone has two jobs.” The Post shot this down, noting the number of people working two jobs is down from the recession -- and has remained steady at around 5 percent in recent years.

Other claims it summarily dismissed include a May 30 interview statement that ICE is “required to fill 34,000 beds with detainees every single night.” Both the Post and Politifact note that this is an “urban legend” and that ICE was only required to maintain that many beds -- not fill them.

Additionally, the Post called her out for saying a recent study found Medicare-for-all would cut health expenditures, when it found the plan would raise government expenditures by $32.6 trillion over 10 years. A separate fact check by The Associated Press aimed at this claim, made by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., notes it only cuts spending if hospitals accept Medicare-based payments of 40 percent less for those who have private insurance.

Some claims didn’t warrant a check, including one appearance on CNN where she asked, “Why aren’t we incorporating the cost of all the funeral expenses of those who died because they can’t afford access to health care?”

“Huh?” was the only response from the Post’s fact-checkers.

Ocasio-Cortez has been on the interview circuit ever since her shock primary victory over Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y. But the 28-year-old swiftly encountered some difficulties, starting with her interview with PBS’ “Firing Line,” in which she went in hot on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and talked about the “occupation of Palestine.” Asked to “expand” on her thoughts, she said, “I am not the expert at geopolitics on this issue.”


Less than two weeks later, in an appearance on “The Daily Show,” the candidate made a number of questionable statements on how she would pay for her big spending agenda.

"Just last year we gave the military a $700 billion dollar budget increase, which they didn’t even ask for,” she said. “They were like, ‘we don’t want another fighter jet. Don’t give us another nuclear bomb.’ They didn’t even ask for it. And we gave it to them."

This caught the eye of Politfact, which gave her a “false” rating, noting that the $700 billion tag was the total defense budget for 2018, not the increase, and that the amount was “more than the Defense Department settled in negotiations for Trump’s budget request ($668 billion), but exactly what they requested in their annual wishlist to Congress.”

Ocasio-Cortez has been pushing back against the critics. Last week, she appeared to make fun of fact-checkers criticizing her for what she called a “small slip on a budgetary figure during [an] extemporaneous interview.”

“This girl is SO uninformed! She needs to stay quiet until she knows everything!” she tweeted, while claiming they shrugged off GOP Sen. James Inhofe’s 2015 decision to bring a snowball to the Senate floor in a debate about climate change -- a move that was mocked by a number of outlets at the time, including The Washington Post.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.