As Donald Trump, Jr. riled up the crowd before one of his father’s signature rallies, the crowd present erupted into a chant of “AOC sucks,” in reference to freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as The Washington Post reported. The chant was clearly delivered with the same fervor, not to mention cadence, of the cries to “lock her up” that became a reliable fixture of Trump appearances through the 2016 election and beyond.
But while “lock her up” referred to Hillary Clinton, a seasoned opponent and Trump’s direct competition for the presidency, the vitriol against Ocasio-Cortez could be considered surprising, especially since as a first-term congresswoman she would not traditionally find herself in the partisan crosshairs of a sitting president. Ocasio-Cortez, for example, is indeed not running for president at this time, leaving a number of Democratic contenders that might be considered more appropriate targets for Trump and his supporters.
Nonetheless, the crowd did not erupt into that chant spontaneously. Trump Jr. clearly set the stage in his opening remarks.
“Think about the fact that every mainstream, leading Democratic contender is taking the advice of a freshman congresswoman who three weeks ago didn’t know the three branches of government,” the younger Trump said. “I don’t know about you guys, but that’s pretty scary,” the president’s son continued as the chant began.
Trump’s reference to the three branches of government recalled a verbal slip-up from Ocasio-Cortez in which she referred to the branches of government as chambers. She responded to the criticism quickly on Twitter.
“Maybe instead of Republicans drooling over every minute of footage in slow-mo, waiting to chop up word slips that I correct in real-tomd [sic], they actually step up enough to make the argument they want to make: that they don’t believe people deserve a right to healthcare.” she tweeted in response to a callout by Republican Representative Niraj Antani.
Maybe instead of Republicans drooling over every minute of footage of me in slow-mo, waiting to chop up word slips that I correct in real-tomd, they actually step up enough to make the argument they want to make:— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 19, 2018
that they don’t believe people deserve a right to healthcare. https://t.co/fMOijEa7tF
If Ocasio-Cortez is on deck to be the next rhetorical villain for the Trump Administration and Trump’s presumed 2020 reelection bid, she has thus far refrained from responding in kind. In response to the Washington Post coverage of the Trump rally chanting directed at her, she simply indicated that she would continue to fight for the right of Trump supporters to healthcare.
Similarly, in a recent appearance on MSNBC, she interrupted an audience member who called a Republican sharing a panel with her a moron to declare that kind of language unacceptable, before pointing out that the approach was largely the difference between her and Trump.