Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter on Friday to hit back at a Republican commentator who accused her of lying about being raised in the Bronx. Ocasio-Cortez was forced to defend her reputation after Michael J. Knowles, a conservative columnist and podcaster, tweeted that she actually grew up in “a small, homogenous, affluent suburb where she attended excellent schools before pretending she grew up in the Bronx.”
But the youngest woman elected to Congress accused Knowles of “mansplaining” her childhood to her.
“It begs the question: is the GOP really ‘sending us their best?'” she quipped.
In a subsequent tweet, Ocasio-Cortez had some fighting words for GOP supporters who want to question her background.
“Lastly, to all these corny Republicans trying to take the Bronx away from me: where on earth do you think these clapback Twitter hands came from??” she wrote. “Only one place.”
This isn’t the first time that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has had to defend her origin story. In the weeks after her primary victory against Joe Crowly, some GOP critics accused her of fabricating parts of her life story so that she could widen her appeal among constituents.
As the Boston Globe reports, Ocasio-Cortez’s mother, Blanca, has said that the congresswoman-elect was born in the Bronx and lived there until she was 5-years-old. The family then moved to a suburb in Westchester County so that she could get a better education. They lived in a $150,000 house in Yorktown and Ocasio-Cortez returned to living in the Bronx after she graduated from Boston University. The young politician has also said that her mother “scrubbed toilets” so that they could afford to live in the neighborhood.
“My mom scrubbed toilets so I could live here & I grew up seeing how the zip code one is born in determines much of their opportunity,” she tweeted on July 1.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who identifies as a Democratic Socialist, has been a target of Conservative criticism ever since her history-making primary win earlier this year. As a progressive politician, she advocates for certain views that many on the right find radical, like Medicare for all, a universal jobs guarantee, criminal justice reform, universal housing, and immigration reform.
Since her election, Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly used social media to share behind-the-scenes insights about the inner workings of Congress. So far, she has exposed lobbying tactics used to woo incoming Congresspeople and clapped back at people who tried to mock her for dressing in business attire in her first week on the job.