Two of non-white, female, freshmen members of Congress are already making waves in politics and the media, only a week after being sworn into office — and neither of them are looking to back down.
**Image added post publishing date.
Calling a Spade a Spade
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is no stranger to media attention, having been the target of progressive adulation and conservative harassment even before taking office. Over the weekend, the high-profile congresswoman sat down for an interview with Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes. When asked if she believes President Trump is racist, she gave her unequivocal, unapologetic answer: “Yeah, yeah no question.”
She elaborated that his rhetoric has made it clear that he goes out of his way to connect with white supremacists. “[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 night and day.”
Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the future of the Democratic party or a potential obstacle to its success? Anderson Cooper sits down with the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. https://t.co/aq2XvdSHOH pic.twitter.com/BYwIUvSpr3
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) January 6, 2019
Labeling him as a racist has his supporters besides themselves. Since then, conservatives have been hammering AOC about her tax plan, factual inaccuracies, and radical agenda — though, notably, have been pretty mum about whether the President is an ally of POC.
“When people of color enter elite spaces, they make those with unearned advantages conscious of how they’ve been favored by the system,” a piece in The Atlantic explained. Rather than addressing these inequities, the people in power may choose to “[attack] the new entrant as a charlatan or the group they belong to as backwards.”
Rather than backpedal, Ocasio-Cortez clarified her point of view on social media. “The President defended Neo-Nazis who murdered a woman in Charlottesville. The Dept of Justice sued him for not renting to Black tenants. He launched his campaign by calling Mexicans ‘rapists.’ He banned Muslims. The President is racist. And that should make you uncomfortable.”
Sorrynotsorry for Wanting to Impeach Him
In response to leaked footage of herself referring to President Trump as a “motherf*cker” who she’ll work to get impeached, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib was unapologetic, explaining that she merely is as passionate and no-filter as anyone from Detroit. “We say colorful things in interesting ways, but I tell you, the president of the United States is my focus. The residents back home are my focus.” An official statement from her office contended that she was “elected to shake up Washington, not continue the status quo,” and reaffirmed that she believes the President should be impeached.
Outspoken women (especially when they hold positions of power) are routinely derided as hysterical even when their male peers use the same language. An op-ed in the New York Times broke down the uproar over Tlaib’s comments in the context of other female politicians who are known to curse. “The hysteria over Tlaib’s four-syllable word is like a warning to [senior female politicians], and to all the women just starting their careers on the national stage, not to show how livid they really are, to stay in line.”
Tlaib did issue an apology, but only about causing a political distraction as Democrats publicly expressed their concerns that the scandal would give Trump and his supporters a renewed sense of victimhood. “I understand that I am a member of Congress, and I don’t want anything that I do or say to distract us. And that’s the only thing that I apologize for — that it was a distraction,” Tlaib said.