Ocasio-Cortez Thinks Menendez Is From Florida, Knocks Him and Manchin For Not Being 'Working-Class Champion'

August 7, 2018

Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday knocked a couple key members of her own party, Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.), saying they don't represent the "working-class champion."

She also wrongly identified Menendez as being from Florida before being corrected by her interviewer.

The self-described democratic socialist took aim at Manchin and Menendez during an appearance on the podcast "Pod Save America," which is hosted by former Obama administration staff members.

The candidate first mentioned Manchin's primary, where he was challenged by Paula Jean Swearengin, who was further to the left of Manchin. Ocasio-Cortez complimented Swearengin for running with relatively little–$167,000–in campaign contributions and no experience.

"Joe Manchin droped $2 million against [Swearengin], and she still got 30 percent of the vote," Ocasio-Cortez said.

"There are people that really want to feel like there's an unapologetic working-class champion for them," she added.

When Ocasio-Cortez first mentioned Menendez, she claimed he was from Florida, but was soon corrected that he represents New Jersey.

Ocasio-Cortez mentioned Menendez's surprisingly close primary race where he too was challenged by someone further to his left.

"So, it's going to require a little busting of this idea that we have of politics that has been so calcified, that we've taken so much as fact, that I just don't think is necessarily true," she said.

Since Ocasio-Cortez defeated incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.) in the Democratic primary for New York's 14th Congressional District, she has become a thorn in the paw of some Democrats. House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D., S.C.) said in an interview that Ocasio-Cortez needs to wait her turn before she thinks about joining the party's leadership. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D., Mo.) said the media had turned Ocasio-Cortez into "some kind of deity."

Some in the Democratic Party fear progressive rising stars in their own party, such as Ocasio-Cortez, are too liberal to allow the party to appeal to independent voters and win general elections across the country. Ocasio-Cortez campaigned on a progressive platform that includes support for the abolishment of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a universal jobs guarantee, and forgiveness of all student debt.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said in July that he spoke with Ocasio-Cortez and suggested the young Democratic star had received the message that not every district is as open to her ideas as New York's 14th.