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Socialist New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez complained Monday that she was accosted by a Republican lawmaker from Florida allegedly over comments she made last week suggesting spikes in New York City crime are due to hunger issues.
AOC, as she is popularly known, was walking up the steps to the U.S. Capitol Building to cast a vote on a measure while Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), was descending after just having cast his vote, The Hill reported Tuesday.
According to a reporter who overheard the exchange, Yoho — an avid law enforcement supporter who is retiring at the end of his current term — told the young Democratic congresswoman she was “disgusting” for suggesting earlier this month that poverty in New York City was responsible for huge spikes in violent crime.
“You are out of your freaking mind,” Yoho reportedly said.
Ocasio-Cortez responded that he was being “rude,” The Hill reported.
The two separated after that, with Ocasio-Cortez heading up the steps to the Capitol while Yoho, then joined by Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), headed down.
After walking a few steps, Yoho reportedly said, “F**king b**ch” to no one in particular, The Hill added.
Williams was asked about the conversation but had nothing to offer.
“I was actually thinking, as I was walking down the stairs, I was thinking about some issues I’ve got in my district that need to get done,” Williams said, The Hill reported. “I don’t know what their topic was. There’s always a topic, isn’t there?”
Ocasio-Cortez said the experience was the first of its kind for her.
“That kind of confrontation hasn’t ever happened to me — ever,” she said. “I’ve never had that kind of abrupt, disgusting kind of disrespect levied at me.”
During a Zoom town hall meeting last week, Ocasio-Cortez claimed that Republicans were “upset that I’m connecting the dots between poverty and crime” in claiming that the rise in criminal violence, shootings, and confrontations with police are related to rising poverty due to coronavirus shutdowns.
“This may be hard for them to admit, but poverty and crime are highly linked, both violent & nonviolent alike,” she wrote in a tweet accompanying her video.
Republicans are all upset that I’m connecting the dots between poverty and crime.
I know most of them haven’t experienced or seen these issues first hand, but I have.
This may be hard for them to admit, but poverty and crime are highly linked, both violent & nonviolent alike. https://t.co/4t34dCLZlw
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 13, 2020
An advocate of defunding the NYPD, she went on to claim that “all those billions of dollars” spent on the New York Police Department “somehow have not prevented the uptick in crime that we’re seeing.”
“Do we think this has to do with the fact that there’s record unemployment in the United States right now?” AOC said. “The fact that people are at a level of economic desperation that we have not seen since the Great Recession?”
“Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent and so they go out, and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money,” she continued before claiming that “they’re put in a position where they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry that night.”
Her assessment was ridiculed and lambasted by conservatives.
“There’s a big difference between shoplifting and cold-blooded murder and for her not to know the difference is frankly astonishing,” former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told Fox News.
“You don’t kill a 1-year-old because you need some bread, that doesn’t put bread on your table and that’s why the absurdity of her [Ocasio-Cortez’s] remarks have to be called out,” he continued, citing the shooting death of a toddler at an NYC park a day earlier.
In a statement following NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio’s announcement he would seek a $1 billion cut in the NYPD budget next year, Ocasio-Cortez criticized it as too small.
“Defunding police means defunding police. It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so the exact same police remain in schools,” she said.
“These proposed ‘cuts’ to the NYPD budget are a disingenuous illusion. This is not a victory. The fight to defund policing continues,” she wrote.
NYPD unions blasted the decision, noting that de Blasio’s policies and those of other Democratic leaders in the city are responsible for handcuffing police, which is primarily what has led to crime spikes.
To all our friends in law enforcement both outside & in the USA. DO NOT visit NYC & DO NOT encourage friends & family to visit. The city is dangerous thanks to our elected officials see for yourself. @StamatakisCPA @Pat_gooley @ANPV_nl @AP_Europe @GermanyUN @LAPPL @sjpoa @GLFOP https://t.co/2AlDSoRc4S
— SBA (@SBANYPD) June 28, 2020
As for the back-and-forth with Yoho, Ocasio-Cortez added that she was stunned by it.
“In all these intense news cycles, I have never, ever been treated that way by another member before,” she added. “I’m frankly quite taken aback.”
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