New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Donald Trump racist earlier this week and directed comments to white nationalists in the United States when she spoke at a vigil for victims of mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas that left dozens dead.
In speaking to a group of mourners in Brooklyn, New York, Ocasio-Cortez did not mince words in calling Trump racist. She told those in attendance that there was no point in debating the issue and said point blank that she believes Trump is racist, HuffPost reported.
Ocasio-Cortez then turned to the crowd and addressed racists and those radicalized by white supremacist ideology directly. Ocasio-Cortez, who is often referred to by her initials of "AOC," told them that redemption was possible.
"There is a mother waiting for you, I know it," Ocasio-Cortez said. "I know there's a teacher waiting for you, saying, 'What happened to my kid? What happened to my friend?' And we will always be here and hold space for you to come back. We will love you back. You are not too far gone."
The representative from Queens, who unseated longstanding Democrat Joe Crowley to gain her seat in Congress in 2018, took to Twitter on Tuesday to share a similar message to people who have adopted extreme ideologies.Ocasio-Cortez has long sparred with Trump, who in July told the congresswoman in a tweet to "go back" to her ancestral country. Ocasio-Cortez was born in the United States. The comments were directed toward a larger group known as the "squad," which includes Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ihan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, all of whom are women of color.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted following Trump's tweet to condemn it, with many Democrats and some Republicans arguing that the president's tweet was racist. In July, the president denied he was racist and claimed he is the "least racist" person in the world, a claim he has since repeated, per Politico.Trump also found himself in hot water last week when he attacked Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is black, and called his Baltimore district "infested" with rats and rodents. Some said the president had a history of using similar language to describe places with high populations of minorities, like Baltimore.
The shooter in El Paso who killed 23 people while they shopped at a Walmart store allegedly targeted the area because of its high population of Hispanic and Latino people. In a document he reportedly posted online on 8chan prior to the shooting, he called the high population of Hispanic people in Texas an "invasion," which some have said echoes comments made by Trump.