Things That Matter

AOC Called Out Rep. Steve King For Willfully Risking Pink Eye Instead Of Admitting Migrants Deserve Better Treatment

The migrant detention sanitary debate has reached new depths this week when Iowa Rep. Steve King (R) tweeted a video of himself drinking water out of water fountain attached to a toilet at a migrant detention center. In the tweet, King accused Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of lying to spin “#FakeNews” about the border in order to create “click bait for Snowflakes!” You bet AOC fired back.

In case you forgot, earlier this summer, members of Congress, including AOC, toured migrant facilities in El Paso and Clint, Texas. Every member of Congress that visited the centers recalled the story of one woman who was told by an agent to drink water out of the toilet when the faucet stopped working. Rep. Ayanna Pressley even tried to open the faucet, and fiddle with it to make it function, but it simply wouldn’t work.

Rep. Steve King told a town hall meeting that he actually visited the facility and filmed himself drinking from a toilet fountain at a migrant facility and it was “actually pretty good.”

Credit: @SteveKingIA / Twitter

In the video, Rep. King is seen taking a sip from the fountain, pulling away for a couple of seconds, and going back in to finish drinking the water. Then, he swishes it around his mouth, swallows, snaps his fingers and blurts, “Not bad.”

Maura Barrett of NBC reports that Rep. King told the town hall this story: “I actually went into that cell where it was reported that they were advised they had to drink out of the toilet. I took a drink out of there. And actually pretty good! So I have a videotape and I smacked my lips, but I didn’t send it out because I thought, ‘You know, this subject just needs to go into the rearview mirror.’ Why do I bring it up now, you ask? That was a little personal experience.”

Then he started referring to migrants as “inmates” in a “prison,” that necessitate “semi indestructible” toilets.

“There’s these toilets in these prisons, are stainless steel,” he went on to say in the same report. “They’re built so that they are semi indestructible by the inmates that are there. And in the back where the lid would be on our toilet, that’s also sealed.” According to King’s understanding, “There’s a water fountain there, you push the button, the water comes out and you take a drink. It’s how it is. It’s not drinking out of the toilet, it’s drinking out of the water fountain that’s integral with the back of the toilet. But I think there was a little language barrier there and so that’s how come we got that misinformation.”

After King effectively called AOC a liar, AOC mocked what she sees as King’s proof of arrogance on the issue.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

“There is a genre of videos where GOP House members – who clearly didn’t read sworn testimony that detention sinks were broken – filming themselves drinking out of toilet sinks,” she tweeted back. “They’re so anti-immigrant they risk pink eye to show off that they didn’t do the reading. #CloseTheCamps.”

Meanwhile, the rest of Twitter is like, “que que?”

Credit: @donmoyn / Twitter

“That’s not where the water, the women were told to drink, was” tweeted  @iTibbi. “In their cell, the sink above the toilet was broken. They were told to drink the water in the toilet. What he does in that video mocks those women and the conditions they were put in. Never expect better from him.” Steve King is making zero points when he drinks out of a functioning water fountain because that was never the challenge posited to the detained women. Officers told the women to drink from the toilet bowl when the fountain stopped working. 

King was removed from the only committee assignment he ever held after he questioned why being called a “white nationalist” or “white supremacist” was so offensive.

Credit: @SteveKingIA / Twitter

In an interview with The Times Steve King actually said: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” While President Trump never condemned King’s statement, Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell suggested “another line of work” was in King’s future. King never apologized or offered another opinion on white supremacy, and simply said he was misunderstood. 

One Twitter user rightly asked, “Wait, how could he get a tour but not members of the House Oversight Committee? Steve King literally sits on no committees; there is no reason for him to review migrant facilities.”

READ: Racist Congressman on National Television: What Have Non-White People Ever Done For Civilization?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Push For A Bernie Sanders Presidency Might Just Be The Fight We Need

Things That Matter

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Push For A Bernie Sanders Presidency Might Just Be The Fight We Need

@realDailyWire / Twitter

As the 2020 presidential election draws ever nearer, the stakes are growing significantly higher for the candidates of both major parties—and quickly. In the case of the Democrats, the top four candidates (Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg) are all closely ranked in New Hampshire and Iowa, and it’s no secret that Iowa is a particularly important state when it comes to forecasting election season. This week, the Des Moines Register poll showed Sanders with a mild lead in this Midwest state, a stat that bodes well for him in the coming months—well, at least, it might. At this point in the game, it’s really impossible to guess what’s to come, especially in the midst of the chaos surrounding our military conflict with Iran and the impeachment of President Trump.

In addition to a millennial-friendly position on a wide range of issues—from healthcare reform to student loan forgiveness—many folks are speculating about Senator Sanders’ success resulting from his endorsement by none other than AOC herself.

Credit: J Pat Carter / Getty Images

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Sanders back in October, and ever since, she’s stood alongside him in several early-voting states, drawing major crowds in Nevada, California, New York, and, of course, Iowa. Sanders’ approach to policy may already pique the interest of the millennial generation, but AOC is, herself, a millennial—she speaks to this age group from her own perspective as a progressive young person, appealing to her peers with firsthand knowledge of what matters to them most. She’s impassioned, savvy, likeable. And she’s not just exciting the millennial demographic—she’s appealing to all kinds of Democrats.

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a leader in the progressive movement,” said Jeff Weaver, longtime adviser to Sanders. “She is broadly popular, frankly, among Democratic voters. She is particularly strong with young voters, voters of color. She’s an important national voice and adding her weight to the political revolution is a real coup for us.”

It’s definitely clear that AOC and Sanders are making waves across the country, establishing powerful connections with legions of unlikely and diverse Democratic constituencies. And as they continue to generate energy and excitement, people are starting to wonder: Will AOC ultimately inherit the progressive movement headed by Sanders? Will she occupy the White House one day?

Credit: Kevin Kuo / AP Photo

Again, no one can answer these questions right now. But in the meantime, the political duo is leaving a powerful imprint on enthusiastic delegates, paving the way for what might end up being a highly productive race for the Democratic socialists. With that said, it’s important to remember that Joe Biden is currently favored in Nevada and South Carolina, placing him and Sanders in a sort of limbo, hovering at a similar point  in the race. But if one of them ends up gaining early momentum, either candidate could potentially emerge as a singular favorite by the time Super Tuesday arrives in March.

Waleed Shahid, a former aide to both Sanders and AOC, acknowledged the pair’s recent visit through California, saying that Sanders would benefit from further establishing himself within the Super Tuesday state—a move that would allow him to expand his already strong position among Latino voters. (In surveys of Latino Democrats, Sanders typically polls first or second.) And AOC is, without a doubt, boosting his ratings among this demographic: to make sure their message is being heard, she’s been delivering campaign speeches entirely in Spanish to Latino crowds.

Even if there’s no way to predict AOC’s future role in the Democratic party, there have been hints as to what might come to pass if Sanders is chosen as the Democratic candidate for this year’s election.

Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters

In an election endorsement interview with The New York Times Editorial Board, Sanders said that it was “a little bit premature” to name a running mate, as the first nominating contest is still weeks away. But he continued by saing, “I think Joe [Biden] has had eight years as vice president: probably enough.” He added, “I believe in diversity. I believe and know that my administration and my cabinet will look like America looks like. I’m not going to tell you who it’s going to be.”

While Sanders may be trying to keep his plans on the down low (he isn’t wrong, after all—it is a bit early to start naming potential running mates), it’s clear that he and AOC have a similar vision and a sincere, collaborative chemistry. Plus, he did tell ABC in November that she would “play a very, very important role — no question” if he becomes president. He has even taken to occasionally citing remarks by AOC during his speeches, reiterating that they share a parallel perspective for the future of our country. At this point, all we can do is speculate about a Sanders/AOC ticket. Ya veremos!

AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party

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AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party

@AOC / @JoeBiden / Twitter

New York Magazine profiled the superstar progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fondly known as AOC. The 30-year-old The Bronx native was not afraid to vent her frustrations with Vice President Joe Biden and the right-leaning centrists who seem to dominate the Democratic Party. 

AOC shared the same concern as many progressives: that centrists control the party at a crucial time for democracy and have a misguided approach to governing during a time when the Republican Party refuses to cooperate. 

AOC said she and Joe Biden don’t belong in the same political party.

When reporter David Freedlander asked her what she thought her place might be should Joe Biden become president, her response was candid, to say the least. 

“Oh God,” she said. “In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party, but in America, we are.”’

Freedlander describes AOC as the tenacious hopeful many estimated her to be. She sees no reason to comprise on her values and will fearlessly stand against what’s popular. Notably, in 2019, she was the only Democrat to vote against funding the government because that would mean funding ICE. This might seem like it should be the standard — a leader with a strong sense of justice — but in a representative government, it is more common for Democrats to acquiesce to popular sentiment (i.e. centrist and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waiting for public approval to impeach the president, rather than what the law dictates). 

AOC feels these Democrats cave too easily on the demands of the more conservative members of the party.

“For so long, when I first got in, people were like, ‘Oh, are you going to basically be a tea party of the left?’ And what people don’t realize is that there is a tea party of the left, but it’s on the right edges, the most conservative parts of the Democratic Party,” the representative of the New York’s 14th district said.

AOC describes tension within the party with one side successfully attempting to pull it right, and the other side also quite successfully trying to pull it left (i.e. the rise of progressives like the Squad, Elizabeth Warren and AOC’s 2020 pick Bernie Sanders).  

“So the Democratic Party has a role to play in this problem, and it’s like we’re not allowed to talk about it. We’re not allowed to talk about anything wrong the Democratic Party does,” she said. “I think I have created more room for dissent, and we’re learning to stretch our wings a little bit on the left.” 

AOC says that she learned from her own experiences that fear has begun to dominate how politicians govern.

The freshman congresswoman recounted an incident where she wanted to sit in on a meeting in Pelosi’s office. It was about the Green New Deal, but other members of the squad chickened out at the last minute. AOC wasn’t sure if she should go? Would the move infuriate the eventual House Speaker? 

“I was terrified,” AOC told New York Magazine. “I learned a lot about how fear shapes the decisions of elected officials: ‘I know this could be bad, and this could make someone mad, and I don’t know exactly how they would drop the hammer on me or what hammers would be dropped.’ It felt like the right thing to do, and when you say that people think it’s a form of naïveté and that it’s childish, but I don’t think it was.”

Much of the conflict exists between the moderates and progressives because of what is at stake. While moderates appear more concerned with winning elections to expand the party’s power, according to AOC, progressives seem more concerned with policy-making. That means they aren’t afraid to challenge other incumbent Democrats in elections. However, Freedlander notes that moderates have challenged far more incumbents than progressives lately. 

Progressives are too threatening to some of the more seasoned Democrats.

“As a consequence of my victory, many people are inspired to run for office, and in a body where 70 percent of the seats are safe red or safe blue, that de facto means a lot more primaries,” she said. 

Dissent is a healthy party of democracy, that is why it is protected by the First Amendment. The differences between moderates and progressives can be good: healthy competition can breed better results. However, it can be confusing for voters when such a large spectrum of values and priorities exists within one party. The person who wants Sanders to win probably has little in common with a candidate like Biden. The massive disparity forces voters to either compromise their values or become apathetic. 

“Democrats can be too big of a tent,” AOC said summing up the issue.

But if there’s one way to change politics, it is by changing the attitudes of voters. AOC wants to get more people involved, and she wants to do it by making politics more understandable. 

“Politics should be pop because it should be consumable and accessible to everyday people,” she said. “I think that’s what populism is about.”