Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said there’s “no question” President Donald Trump is a racist, citing in an interview that aired Sunday the White House’s response to white supremacist groups and ongoing rhetoric about migrant communities.
“The president certainly didn’t invent racism. But he’s certainly given a voice to it and expanded it and created a platform for those things,” Ocasio-Cortez told “60 Minutes” correspondent Anderson Cooper during the segment. When asked if she believes Trump is a racist, she replied: “Yeah. Yeah, no question.”
“When you look at the words that he uses, which are historic dog whistles of white supremacy. When you look at how he reacted to the Charlottesville incident, where neo-Nazis murdered a woman, versus how he manufactures crises like immigrants seeking legal refuge on our borders, it’s — it’s night and day,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.
The White House vehemently denied the characterization in a statement to “60 Minutes” and slammed the lawmaker for her “sheer ignorance.”
“Cong. Ocasio-Cortez’s sheer ignorance on the matter can’t cover the fact that President Trump supported and passed historic criminal justice reform… [and] … has repeatedly condemned racism and bigotry in all forms,” the deputy White House press secretary told the outlet.
Ocasio-Cortez, 29, was sworn in to Congress on Thursday, after being the youngest woman elected to the chamber. She campaigned on a fiercely anti-Trump agenda and has promised to be a leading voice on a slew of left-leaning issues, including climate change, immigration and health care.
Cooper pushed the congresswoman on her frequent use of social media and her combative approach to politics, including recent calls that legacy Democrats who accept corporate money be challenged in their primaries by a new cohort of liberal voices.
“It’s absolutely risky,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It requires risk to try something new, but also we ― we know so much of ― of what we’ve tried in the past hasn’t worked, either.”