Primary challenger irks Ocasio-Cortez, accuses her of always being ‘MIA’ in fiery debate

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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was confronted by a primary challenger who accused her of being “MIA” in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

The New York Democrat exchanged barbs Monday in a heated primary debate with former CNBC host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera who called her out for being missing in action all the time and remaining in Washington D.C. at “the height of the crisis.”

“You stayed away in your apartment. AOC, you’re always MIA,” Caruso-Cabrera said in the Democratic Primary debate for the 14th Congressional District.

The candidate, who blasted the freshman lawmaker for voting in favor of the coronavirus relief package in April, also accused her of creating a “huge division within” the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives.

“While it’s disappointing to see Ms. Caruso-Cabrera fixated on personal attacks — and for some strange reason, obsessed with the six days in March that I wasn’t feeling well, and had to stay in my apartment,” Ocasio-Cortez fired back. “I do think it’s quite funny that she goes on and on about the fact that … I spend time doing my job in Washington and coming home to the Bronx when she lived in a $15,000-a-month Trump Tower apartment until six months ago,” she claimed. “This woman probably couldn’t even find Sunnyside [Queens] on a map until she decided to challenge me for the sake of challenging me.”

She then slammed her opponent for not actually caring about New York’s 14th congressional district.

“She doesn’t care about the Bronx, she doesn’t care about Queens. She cares about running for running,” she said as she turned to personal attacks.

“No one’s ever seen this person before,” the progressive incumbent ranted. “Who are you? Like, where is your family from? Where have you lived? No one has seen you in this community before, and while I know you have multi-millionaires that finance your campaign, and you’re financed by the same real estate developers and big banks that will profit from the corruption in Washington, and adding one more notch to their belt, I don’t think it’s important for us to do that. I don’t think it’s OK for us to do that.”

Caruso-Cabrera did not take the insults lying down, firing back at Ocasio-Cortez who has often been criticized for ignoring her district while focusing on her personal agenda in Washington.

“Greetings from Sunnyside, Queens,” the journalist and former chief international correspondent for CNBC shot back.

“I love Sunnyside, Queens, I love New York. I wish I had been born in New York. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. My opponent is the one that nobody ever sees in the district. Let me tell you, the second this crisis started, I started delivering food and I started delivering masks,” she contended. “I have delivered nearly 50,000 masks and food and hand sanitizer to Jacobi Hospital, which I’m not sure you could have found on a map, AOC.”

This apparently drew some laughs from Ocasio-Cortez as well as Queens activist Badrun Khan, another in the race for the primary scheduled to take place June 23.

But the Democrat from a family of Cuban immigrants forged on, saying that on “day one, I was out delivering food, I was out delivering masks — I wasn’t even elected.”

Ocasio-Cortez defended herself, reiterating she was sick and then touted her own accomplishments.

“I’m proud to say that we continued to have a strong field force on the ground, and this is the benefit of being a movement candidate,” she said. “Again, I have continued to raise over almost half-a-million dollars for food pantries, delivering meals myself, while also advocating for broader, systemic change in Washington.”

But Caruso-Cabrera took aim at the democratic socialist as she accused her of “driving away 25,000 jobs” when she vocally opposed the plans by Amazon to build a second headquarters in Queens.

“That’s the least you could do after driving away $27 billion in tax revenue that we could have had,” she said. “Imagine if we had those jobs that you drove away right now to help us get back on our feet.”

Watch the debate in the video below via BronxNet:

 

 

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
Frieda Powers

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