Self-declared democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.) in a congressional primary last month, defended her childhood ties to the Bronx borough in New York City on Tuesday, attempting to differentiate herself from "silver-spoon" Democratic candidates who try to rebrand themselves as a "working man."
Ocasio-Cortez, 28, appeared on the "Pod Save the People" podcast to discuss her big upset over Crowley in the Democratic primary in New York's 14th congressional district, and to talk about some of her controversial political views.
Host DeRay Mckesson asked Ocasio-Cortez about the controversy surrounding her childhood roots and whether she actually grew up in the Bronx. Some journalists and commentators have claimed that the candidate is lying about growing up in the Bronx.
"I think it's so funny because this experience—I don't think that the alt-right or the far-right—I feel like they are short circuiting over this moment," Ocasio-Cortez said. "They are trying these things that I think they always try, their playbook, but it's not working because it's just not true."
She then acknowledged there are Democrats in politics who have attempted to rebrand themselves as the "working man," despite having a "silver spoon" in their mouth.
"I will say that there has been a load of hypocrisy in the Democratic Party. There's a load of hypocrisy sometimes in we know that there are silver-spoon candidates that try to refashion themselves as the working man, and it's like give me a break," Ocasio-Cortez said. "I think that's what they tried with me, but the entire time I ran, I told this story. That's why I talk about the zip code a child being born in determining their opportunity and much of their destiny in life."
The self-declared socialist then reflected on her childhood and discussed being born in the Bronx to a third-generation Bronx family.
"When I was a young girl, my mom was looking at the educational opportunities available to me in the Bronx in the late 80s and early 90s, which were very limited, and so my whole family pitched in. We got a small downpayment on a tiny house 30 minutes north and my dad kept his business in the south Bronx," Ocasio-Cortez said. "My whole root and family was in the Bronx, my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, so I grew up between two worlds and I told that story on the campaign trail constantly."
Ocasio-Cortez will face Anthony Pappas, the Republican candidate in New York's 14th district, in the November general election.