Ocasio-Cortez's Chief of Staff: Green New Deal About Changing Economy

'We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Getty Images
July 11, 2019

Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff for New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D.), said that the Green New Deal was not about the climate, but rather about tearing down the economy and building a new one, according to a report from The Washington Post.

"The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn't originally a climate thing at all," Chakrabarti said, according to the Post. "Do you guys think of it as a climate thing? Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing."

Chakrabarti made the comments during a meeting with Sam Ricketts, the climate director for presidential candidate Jay Inslee.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted approvingly about Inslee's climate proposal, calling it "the most serious + comprehensive one to address our crisis." Climate change is the centerpiece of Inslee's run for president.

"I'll be honest, my view is I still think you guys aren't going big enough," Chakrabarti told Ricketts during their meeting. Inslee's plan proposes transitioning to 100 percent clean energy, prioritizing on environmental and economic justice, and ending fossil fuel subsidies.

Prior to serving as Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, Chakrabarti worked on Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign. After Sanders's failed run at the Democratic nomination, Chakrabarti co-founded Justice Democrats, the political action committee behind Ocasio-Cortez's rise to power. Justice Democrats has announced a series of endorsements for the 2020 election aiming to unseat moderate Democrats and replace them with further left-wing candidates.

Chakrabarti  recently wore a t-shirt with an image of Nazi collaborator Subhas Chandra Bose for a NowThisNews video about Ocasio-Cortez's 2018 campaign.

A study found that the Green New Deal, if adopted, would cost up to $94 trillion, and a report suggested that it would have "no effect" on the climate while imposing massive social and economic costs. Despite this, Democratic presidential candidates have spoken favorably about and endorsed the legislation, with Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) comparing it to fighting Nazis or putting a man on the moon.

Sanders also defended the deal, saying, "You cannot go too far on the issue of climate change. The future of the planet is at stake."