Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she and her staff receive death threats on a daily basis, and that there is a correlation between the frequency of the threats and news stories about her on right-leaning media outlets. According to a report in The New York Daily News, the freshman Democrat lawmaker, whose district covers parts of the Bronx and the Queens boroughs of New York City, feels safest when she’s at home. Speaking to reporters after a community meeting in her district on Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez told those gathered that she and her staff have documented an uptick in the threats of physical violence that correspond to the amount of coverage she is receiving on right-leaning outlets.
“It’s very clear that when right-wing media starts to heat up, that’s directly correlated to the amount of violent targeted threats we get,” said the 29-year-old progressive congresswoman. “There’s clearly a correlation between the intensity of Fox News and Breitbart and all those folks and the amount of threats that we get.”
She went on to apologize to her constituents for no longer being able to make her schedule public, because due to the frequency and seriousness of the death threats, the U.S. Capitol Police have advised her against it. The threats are so common that her staff was sent to risk assessment training conducted by the U.S. Capitol Police.
“It’s a pretty regular thing, so we just have to be super vigilant.”
But despite all the threats, Ocasio-Cortez has been fearless about putting herself in the spotlight when it comes to advocating for changes like the Green New Deal, an ambitious, sweeping plan to redirect the U.S. economy away from fossil fuel consumption in hopes of staving off a “point of no return” on global climate change that scientists predict is a little over a decade away. She has also been vocal in her criticism of President Donald Trump and made headlines due to the way she grilled Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen during his congressional testimony.
All of that combined with her relative youth has made her a favorite target of right-wing media figures like Laura Ingraham of Fox News, who recently featured a segment on her show in which she and a guest joked about Ocasio-Cortez’s Latina heritage, suggesting that she deliberately puts on an extra dollop of Spanish-tinted accent when she says her name in order to appeal to her constituents, mocking it as a “Latina thing.”
“If by ‘Latina thing’ she means I actually do the work instead of just talk about it, then yeah, I’m doing ‘the Latina thing,” Ocasio-Cortez responded via Twitter. “Unless of course she’s talking about being multilingual, which we know isn’t a ‘Latina thing.’ It’s a 21st century thing.”