New York Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is going to visit Kentucky, even though the congressional colleague who initially extended the invitation has since rescinded it, CNN reports. The invitation was initially offered during a lively House Financial Services Committee hearing last month, when during a disagreement with Ocasio-Cortez, Representative Andy Barr invited her to his home state to see firsthand the impact her proposed Green New Deal would have on the coal miners there.
“I want to invite the gentlelady to come to eastern Kentucky where thousands of coal miners no longer have paychecks,” he said. “I invite her to go underground with me and meet the men and women who do heroic work to power the American economy.”
Ocasio-Cortez immediately accepted the offer.
“I’d be happy to,” she said. “[The proposal includes] fully funding the pensions of coal miners in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia because we want a just transition to make sure that we’re investing in jobs across those swaths of the country.”
Barr, however, later backtracked the invitation, citing a need for Ocasio-Cortez to apologize to GOP Representative Dan Crenshaw of Texas before coming to Kentucky. The demand was in response to Ocasio-Cortez slamming Crenshaw for refusing to co-sponsor the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund and telling him to “do something” about domestic terrorism.
The remark drew substantial outrage on Crenshaw’s behalf, as the congressman is a former Navy SEAL who served three tours in Afghanistan and lost an eye in the line of duty. Barr, in a letter delivered to Ocasio-Cortez and shared publicly, called on her to apologize, saying her comments showed a “lack of civility.”
In response Corbin Trent, a spokeswoman for Ocasio-Cortez, said that no apology was warranted and that the congresswoman had since been invited by other Kentucky residents.
“Luckily, we still have open borders with Kentucky, we are free to travel there,” Trent quipped. “We hope to visit and have a town hall, listen to concerns of workers in Kentucky.”
Ocasio-Cortez also responded personally.
“GOP’s getting scared that up close, their constituents will realize I’m fighting harder for their health care than their own Reps,” she tweeted, punctuating the message with a smiley face.
“When we were drafting the [GND], we looked to FDR’s 1944 State of the Union.
He said that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security.” https://t.co/5MFcnL7y0D
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 16, 2019
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who likewise represents the state of Kentucky, was asked for his thoughts on the prospect of such a visit.
“It’s not up to me, I didn’t issue such an invitation,” McConnell said. “It will be interesting if she does, in fact, come.”