Donald Trump may clash with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in public and through his spats on Twitter, but in private the president has admitted that he is “enamored” and “starstruck” by the freshman Congresswoman from the Bronx.
The 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez has gone from little-known political activist to one of the most covered members of Congress in the span of just a few months following her shocking primary win over longtime Democrat Joseph Crowley. The self-professed Democratic socialist has become a leading figure of the new wave of progressive Democrats, pushing for ideas like the Green New Deal and not shying down from any fights on social media.
As the Daily Mail reported, that has caught the eye of Donald Trump. Speaking to Politico reporter Tim Alberta for an upcoming book, Trump said that Ocasio Cortez has a “certain talent” (though he admitted she appears to be a “ranting and raving lunatic on a street corner”) and compared her favorably to legendary Argentinian first lady Eva Peron.
In the interview, Trump admitted that he “became enamored” by her charisma and even said he was “starstruck.” The praise was decidedly mixed, however.
“She’s got talent. Now, that’s the good news,” the president conceded.
“The bad news: she doesn’t know anything. She’s got a good sense, an ‘it’ factor, which is pretty good, but she knows nothing. But with time, she has real potential.”
Donald Trump may see some of himself in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Many close to the president have said that he deeply values the ability to garner headlines, even if they are negative. And Ocasio-Cortez has another quality that Trump reportedly values — the ability to keep herself in the spotlight. Though just a freshman in Congress, Ocasio-Cortez has used her outsized social media influence and telegenic personality to push her progressive platform.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has not shied away from bad headlines herself. After she clashed with Amazon as the online retail giant unveiled plans for a massive project in her district, Ocasio-Cortez saw her approval ratings plummet even within her own district, CNBC noted. Amazon ultimately pulled out of the project, and much of the blame fell on Ocasio-Cortez.
She has also clashed with members of the Trump family on more than on occasion. As the Washington Post noted, Donald Trump Jr. has frequently taken aim at Ocasio-Cortez and even led the crowd at campaign rallies in chants of “AOC sucks!”
But Donald Trump has sometimes found a common enemy with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. As the de facto leader of the new wave of progressives in the Democratic caucus, Ocasio-Cortez has on occasion come into conflict with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.