Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says ‘Walls Are Waste,’ Wants Funding For Universal Pre-K Instead

Congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stands with Zephyr Teachout after endorsing her for New York City Public Advocate
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

As President Donald Trump continues to focus on getting money for his border wall, Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is looking for other ways to use the $5.7 billion in funding. According to Newsweek, the Democratic congressperson sent a sharply critical tweet of Trump’s border fight, saying that “walls are waste.”

Ocasio-Cortez has long been a supporter of universal preschool and increased funding for education. Yesterday, after House Republicans passed a short-term spending bill that included $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall, the 29-year-old expressed indignation at what she perceives as the hypocrisy of GOP lawmakers.

“And just like that, GOP discovers $5.7 billion for a wall. $5.7 billion. What if we instead added $5.7B in teacher pay? Or replacing water pipes? Or college tuition/prescription refill subsidies? Or green jobs? But notice how no one’s asking the GOP how they’re paying for it.”

Her tweet started a conversation with people like Jeff Stein from the Washington Post, who replied that with that amount of money, you could insure 852,017 Americans or fund universal pre-Kindergarten education. He added that fixing the water pipes in Flint, Michigan, would only cost $55 million, while the GOP ultimately seeks $25 billion for security on the southern U.S. border.

Ocasio-Cortez replied that when Democrats propose that amount of money for education, they are asked how they plan to pay for it and that the plan is a “fantasy.” But, in her opinion, education is a worthwhile investment, while funding for a wall is just a “waste.”

Trump made the promise of a wall a key part of his campaign in the 2016 election and has made it a non-negotiable part of any funding bill. Democrats in the House and Senate refuse to spend money on border wall funding, which Trump had previously said Mexico would pay for. Now, congressional lawmakers are likely going to be unable to pass a budget bill that the president will sign and a partial government shutdown looms.

Trump, for his part, has tried to blame the shutdown on Democrats after previously exclaiming on December 11 in a meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that he would be “proud” to shut down the government over border wall funding in order to keep “criminals” out of the country.

On Friday, he reversed course and said that Democrats would own the shutdown.

“The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED. If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time,” Trump said in a Tweet. “People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!”