Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany doesn’t read the newspapers. Maybe AOC should try reading what McEnany actually says before she launches an attack that basically accuses the press secretary of racism — even subconscious racism.
In a social media dispute that flared up Monday, New York’s best-known democratic socialist tried to paint the Harvard Law graduate McEnany as too ignorant to know the office Ocasio-Cortez holds, apparently thanks to a Politico summary of McEnany’s comments during a White House news briefing.
“@PressSec wouldn’t be the first person to mistake a women of color for having a lower position or title than she does, but Kayleigh – in case you haven’t picked up a newspaper in two years, I’m a Congresswoman,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
“The@PressSec comment is steeped in a long, hurtful, & horrendous history of stripping women of color of titles and diminishing them to ‘the help.’ Perhaps she isn’t aware that what she did is mired in racist history. If that is the case, I look forward to her apology tomorrow.”
First of all, since it’s unlikely McEnany has been living under a rock since the 2018 election season
, it’s a good chance she knew full well who the Bronx-Queens Democrat is even before becoming White House press secretary.
Second, Ocasio-Cortez appeared to be triggered by Politico reporter Jake Sherman’s suspiciously snarky Twitter post that implied McEnany had referred to AOC as simply an “adviser” to Joe Biden, the elderly, white male who’s somehow become the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee for 2020.
Also, since McEnany was referring to Ocasio-Cortez’s status as co-chairwoman of a panel advising Biden on “climate change,” there’s an argument to be made that McEnany was complimenting AOC by elevating her beyond the ranks of an ordinary member of Congress to a powerful player in presidential politics.
Finally, as Alyssa Farah, White House director of strategic communications noted, Ocasio-Cortez was just dead wrong.
Had the congresswoman taken more than a minute to look, and resisted the urge to leap immediately at Sherman’s cc’ed Twitter bait, she would have known McEnany had fully described her, as well as AOC’s equally obnoxious “squad” mate Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the Democratic congresswoman from Michigan.
The two women came up when McEnany was fielding a question about the Democrats’ insane push to defund American police departments.
At a Friday night debate, according to the U.K. Independent, Ocasio-Cortez called for the “reduction of our NYPD budget and defunding a $6 billion budget, that costs us books in the hands of our children and costs us very badly needed investment in NYCHA and public housing.”
Tlaib has also posted support for defunding police.
And that’s what McEnany was talking about when she brought up the congresswomen — including their titles.
She didn’t take long in responding to the Ocasio-Cortez tweet. And it’s safe to say the response wasn’t the “apology” AOC was looking for.
“Read the transcript, Congresswoman,” McEnany wrote in a Twitter post.
“The president is appalled by the ‘defund the police’ movement,” McEnany said, according to the transcript.
“The fact that you have sitting congresswomen wanting to defund the police — notably Rashida Tlaib, notably Biden adviser Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — former Clinton and Eric Holder spokesperson Brian Fallon wanting to defund our police across this country, it is extraordinary.”
In other words, Ocasio-Cortez fired off Monday apparently on the basis of a reporter’s tweet that seemed designed to get a rise out of her, and she jumped right at it. That’s not exactly the behavior voters should expect of their elected officials, but it’s the kind of action Americans have learned to expect from Democrats and “progressives” who have spent the Trump years demonstrating the maturity of middle schoolers.
As is usual with anything coming out of the Trump White House, McEnany’s tweet drew plenty of liberal responses as AOC’s supporters flocked to the congresswoman’s defense like the flying monkeys of “The Wizard of Oz” — but McEnany had plenty of backers, too.
And that last one is key.
Following the example of former press secretary Sarah Sanders, whose tenure was a textbook example of how the White House should handle an unrelentingly hostile press corps, McEnany has made it clear from the beginning that she wasn’t going to be intimidated by the divas in the briefing room.
Even the most vainly obtuse (say, Jim Acosta?) should be learning by now that attacking McEnany without a decent cause is going to be an exercise in failure.
Maybe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will learn the lesson too — assuming she reads enough about it.
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