At a fundraiser dinner on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump derided New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as little more than a “young bartender” and said that her actions are going to help get him re-elected in 2020. According to a report from Politico, Trump jokingly begged the GOP to refrain from killing the Green New Deal, the sweeping environmental, jobs, and economic justice resolution that Ocasio-Cortez and fellow progressive Democrats created, suggesting that running against it will make him a shoo-in for re-election.
“The Green New Deal done by a young bartender, 29 years old,” Trump said at the fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “A young bartender, wonderful young woman, the Green New Deal. The first time I heard it I said, ‘That’s the craziest thing.'”
Ocasio-Cortez has managed to grab her fair share of the limelight since she ran an insurgent campaign against 10-term Democrat incumbent and heavily-favored Rep. Joe Crowley. She never shied away from putting her working-class bona fides on display during the campaign and since, frequently referring to her humble roots and her job as a New York City bartender prior to going to Washington. And her relative youth, frequent use of social media, and outspokenness have made her a favorite target for the right, as she has been savaged in the media for every misstep and slip of the tongue.
“If they beat me with the Green New Deal, I deserve to lose,” Trump added.
At the same time, Ocasio-Cortez’s brand of progressive straight talk about environmental issues, jobs issues and economic justice has caused consternation not only among Republicans but among the elites in her own party, as suggested by the likes of Newt Gingrich in a recent Newsweek op-ed. This is a perceived intra-party fissure that Trump was quick to pounce on.
“You have senators that are professionals that you guys know that have been there for a long time, white hair, everything perfect, and they are standing behind her and they are shaking,” Trump said. “They are petrified of her.”
And Trump might have a point. As a report from The Hill illuminated on Wednesday, there is growing tension between Democratic Party leadership and the progressives who have recently joined Congress over restrictions the party wants to place on hiring vendors who support candidates who challenge Democrat incumbents. At issue is a directive handed down from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) that forces strategists and consultants to pledge not to work for any candidate who runs a primary campaign against a sitting Democrat, on penalty of being blackballed from the Democrats’ approved list of vendors.
Had such a policy been in place prior to the 2018 campaign, Ocasio-Cortez would have had a hard time finding any strategists or consultants to work on her campaign, a policy that liberal groups and progressives are calling a “blacklist.”
As far as Trump was concerned Tuesday night, he just hopes Congress doesn’t manage to totally derail the Green New Deal just yet.
“We will have to do something,” he said. “[But] don’t do it too early, please. Don’t kill it because we want to be able to run against it.”