Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday blasted Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, over what she said was his adopting of a GOP talking point in his latest campaign ad.
Buttigieg’s latest campaign ad featured the youngest candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination for president attacking other candidate’s proposed plans to make college tuition-free, according to Newsweek.
“I believe we should move to make college affordable for everybody,” Buttigieg said in the video. “There are some voices saying, ‘Well, that doesn’t count… unless it’s even free for the kids of millionaires.’ But I only want to make promises that we can keep.”
While Buttigieg doesn’t mention the candidates by name, both Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have made making college more accessible – by making much of it free to attend – a cornerstone of their campaigns for president. Both candidates have likewise proposed for the elimination of existing college debt faced by Americans, Newsweek reported.
The advertisement didn’t sit well with the New York Democrat, who has endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ bid for the Oval Office. Ocasio-Cortez accused the Indiana Democrat of adopting talking points of the Republican Party in order to try to gain support.
“This is a GOP talking point used to dismantle public systems, & it’s sad to see a Dem candidate adopt it,” Ocasio-Corrtez tweeted Thursday evening.
She went on to explain how she believed rich Americans should be able to attend tuition-free higher education, just as they are able to attend public schools in the United States. In a five-point series of tweets, Ocasio-Cortez explained why she believed the talking point used in the Buttigieg advertisement was incorrect.
First, Ocasio-Cortez said public goods, like education, should be available to everyone equally. The legislator from the Bronx noted that upper-class Americans likewise weren’t prohibited from access to libraries or from calling firefighters. In her second point, the lawmaker argued public goods are stronger when everyone pays in and benefits from them.
Next, Ocasio-Cortez claimed that when people begin to be excluded from public services that “cracks” develop in the plans. She noted that the children of rich individuals typically want to attend private institutions, such as Ivy League schools, which she added would not be included in the proposed tuition-free public college programs.
New Pete ad in Iowa taking aim at Warren and Bernie over college affordability/debt (but not by name), arguing they’d alienate half the country by insisting it be “free even for the kids of millionaires”. H/t @McCormickJohn— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) November 29, 2019
Finally, Ocasio-Cortez said that she believed it was beneficial to have classrooms that are socioeconomically integrated, implying that classrooms with a balance of economic classes are more valuable than those without such a mix.
The Buttieig campaign has not responded to Ocasio-Cortez’s allegation against the 37-year-old mayor.
The New York Democrat wasn’t the only one to criticize Buttigieg’s latest advertisement. Many took to Twitter to offer their critiques of him.
“Pete sounding like a Republican which is where his donors are,” one user charged.
“Pete Buttigieg is morally compromised,” another user said on Twitter. “One need only look at his donor list and using rightwing talking points to trick voters is disgraceful #PeteButtigiegIsALyingMF.”
The hashtag used was created earlier in the week when an op-ed about Buttigieg’s past comments about the African American community went viral on social media.