Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Tears Into Republicans Painting Green New Deal as “Elitist”

“Tell that to the kids in the south Bronx…tell that to the families in Flint.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Tuesday delivered an impassioned defense of the Green New Deal, the ambitious Democratic proposal aimed at fighting climate change, after a Republican congressman attacked the resolution as an elitist plan he claimed had been created by out-of-touch “rich liberals from New York of California.”

“I think we should not focus on the rich, wealthy elites who will look at this and go ‘I love it, cause I’ve got big money in the bank. Everyone should do this!'” Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.) said.

“It’s kind of like saying ‘I’ll sign onto the Green New Deal but I’ll take a private jet from DC to California—a private jet—or I’ll take my Uber SUV, I won’t take the train, or I’ll go to Davos and fly my private jet,'” he continued. “The hypocrisy!” 

Ocasio-Cortez swiftly rejected the characterization. She also denounced the overall Republican strategy to portray climate change concerns as an issue of privilege.

“This is not an elitist issue, this is a quality of life issue,” Ocasio-Cortez responded, her voice rising in exasperation. “You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist? Tell that to the kids in the south Bronx which are suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country. Tell that to the families in Flint.”

The fiery exchange came as the Senate blocked a measure to advance the Green New Deal. Republicans, who have so far offered no plans to combat climate change, repeatedly mocked the Democratic plan as unserious and “socialist” during Tuesday’s debate. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) made a splash of his own by relying on various charts that included images of babies, Ronald Reagan, and cartoon sea creatures for his criticism.

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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