Beto O'Rourke on Green New Deal: It Will Spur 'Sacrifice' on the 'Scale' of U.S. in WWII

April 16, 2019

Former Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas) on Tuesday said he backs the Green New Deal because it will spur a scale of "sacrifice" similar to World War II.

O'Rourke, who announced recently he was running for president, spoke to college students at the University of Virginia, where he touted freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D., N.Y.) Green New Deal resolution. The Green New Deal is a 14-page economic stimulus resolution that was released back in February by self-described democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.), aiming to fight income inequality and climate change.

"One of the reasons I like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's proposed Green New Deal is that it calls to mind another time in this country's past when we faced an existential challenge," O'Rourke said. "In that case, it was to our way of life to the western democracies, to our allies in Europe, to our fellow Americans."

"In the midst of the Great Depression, this country was willing to sacrifice men and women all over the United States to make sure that we defeated Germany, and we won that war and for the following 75 years that we made this world safe for democracy," O'Rourke continued. "The Green New Deal calls that sacrifice and service in scale of commitment when it talks about the challenges that we face today."

This isn't the first time the struggle of battling climate change has been compared to fighting and winning World War II. At an MSNBC town hall last month, Ocasio-Cortez compared combatting climate change to fighting a "systemic threat to our country" on par with World War II or the Cold War.

"First all of, we've been here before. We've been here before with the Great Depression. We've been here before with World War II, even the Cold War," she said. "And the answer has been an ambitious and directed mobilization of the American economy to direct and solve our problem, our biggest problem."

"To get us out of the situation, to revamp our economy, to create dignified jobs for working Americans, to guarantee health care and elevate our educational opportunities and attainment, we will have to mobilize our entire economy around saving ourselves and taking care off this planet," Ocasio-Cortez said.

Ocasio-Cortez made similar comments when campaigning for her congressional seat in 2018.

"When we talk about existential threats, the last time we had a really major existential threat in this country was around World War II, so we've been here before, and we have a blueprint of doing this before. None of these things are new ideas, but we have is an existential threat in the context of war," Ocasio-Cortez said. "We had a direct existential threat with another nation and at this time it was Nazi Germany and Axis, who explicitly made the United States as an enemy, and what we did was that we chose to mobilize our entire continent and industrialize our entire continent, and we put hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, to work in defending our shores and defending this country."