(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in on President Joe Biden’s second State of the Union address, praising the commander in chief and criticizing Republicans for their outbursts during the speech.
Ocasio-Cortez was among the lawmakers in attendance Tuesday as Biden addressed Congress and the nation. He spoke of police reform, prioritizing Social Security and the need for cooperation in a divided Congress.
The New York congresswoman shared her thoughts with ABC News Live’s Linsey Davis about Biden’s agenda and whether she would support the president for another term.
DAVIS: The Republican response to President Biden’s address was delivered tonight by Arkansas governor and former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Let’s take a listen to a portion of her remarks.
“I’m the first woman to lead my state, and he’s the first man to surrender his presidency to a woke mob that can’t even tell you what a woman is. In the radical left’s America, Washington taxes you and lights your hard-earned money on fire, but you get crushed with high gas prices, empty grocery shelves, and our children are taught to hate one another on account of their race, but not to love one another or our great country. Whether Joe Biden believes this madness or is simply too weak to resist it, his administration has been completely hijacked by the radical left. The dividing line in America is no longer between right or left. The choice is between normal or crazy. A woke mob who can’t even tell you what a woman is.”‘
Some interesting characterizations there from Sarah Huckabee Sanders. We are joined now by Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York for her reaction to tonight’s address. Thank you so much for joining us, Congresswoman.
REP. OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you for having me.
DAVIS: So first, just curious to get your response to Gov. Huckabee Sanders there in her remarks.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, you know, I think that it’s unsurprising that a governor, Gov. Huckabee Sanders’ response was emotionally and thematically kind of in tune with how Republicans were behaving tonight. I think that it was very mischaracteristic. It relied on a lot of kind of straw men and red herrings. And frankly, I think it was particularly insensitive and insulting. That line that you just repeated about, you know, quote unquote, not knowing what a woman is in this moment when, you know, trans Americans have been under so much attack. It is disgusting, frankly, to have such a vulnerable community targeted on such a large platform and alluded to and insinuated to in this way when they deserve dignity, just like every other American does.
DAVIS: And let’s move back into what we saw on the floor in the chamber tonight. What was your reaction to some of those outbursts by Republicans responding to some of the president’s claims on issues like cutting Social Security, responding with heckles and shouts of ‘liar’?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yeah, you know, I I think it was quite surprising, quite shocking. Even under the even under President Trump and his administration, we never saw such a contentious and heckled State of the Union. Even when President Trump himself was advancing statements that many would consider false or, you know, at best, arguable. And so it was quite diminishing, I think, of the character of the body and what this you know, what what this speech was about and what it is about institutionally, which is a report to the public and the in the whole of Congress on the State of the Union and the president’s plans for the future. So it was it was truly bizarre to see that happen.
But I also think that it’s quite reflective of the fact that the Republican Party has been making such an effort to say that they have not been taken over by this extreme wing of the party. But I think what tonight showed is that that quote unquote, extreme wing has become their center to the point that they that they there isn’t really much self-control, especially when it came to these claims around Republicans seeking to cut Social Security and Medicare. You know, they may say that it’s not true, but if you look at their plan, they’re really speaking between the lines. There is no way that they can meet these financial goals that they have advanced without touching this this spending.
And so they really need to reckon with which, you know, which claim that they’re sticking to. Are they sticking to this claim around their budgetary plan or are they not going to touch Social Security and Medicare? And I think the president extended his hand and said, let’s not touch Social Security and Medicare.
DAVIS: On President Biden’s message, how effectively do you think that he was or how effective do you think that he was in making the case for his agenda tonight?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, I believe that the president really stuck to kitchen table issues, him talking about the price of insulin. Him talking about, you know, maxing out the or rather capping the out-of-pocket maximums for prescription drugs at $2,000 a year. These are important things. But on top of that, I think he he really clearly called out institutions like Big Pharma or influences like Big Pharma.
He called out the profit margins that these oil companies, while they were purchasing stock buybacks while confronting Americans and passing on some of the highest fuel prices that Americans have have encountered in the last year.
So I think it was important. I think him drawing that contrast tonight was important because it is important to really delineate what these alternatives are in order for him to clarify what path he’s choosing.
DAVIS: The president spoke briefly about police reform. With so many family members of victims of police violence in the audience tonight, is there any way that you see that the parties will be able to come together to pass something meaningful? We know that it made it out of the House last time, but then stalled in the Senate. Tim Scott and Cory Booker are just not able to get it over the finish line. At this point, where do you think that things stand?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, you know, I think overcoming a Senate filibuster with ten Republican senators who are willing to take on the issue of police brutality, that is a very, very steep hill to climb. There is, you know, barely even the ability to recognize this fact that this is that this is an issue even after George Floyd and Trayvon Martin and now Tyre Nichols and so many other victims, Sandra Bland and just Breonna Taylor, I mean, the names go on. But the recognition among the Republican Party for us to tackle this as the civil rights issue that it is, is lacking.
And so, I believe that that does put additional pressure on the administration in whichever ways that they can, to use the power of the executive office, whether or the bully pulpit of the presidency, as he did tonight, to elevate the legitimacy of this issue with a lived reality for millions of Americans.
DAVIS: President Biden, of course, has not officially announced his 2024 plans, but the speech very much felt like he was making the case for another term. Like to get your take, would you support President Biden in 2024? Do you see any other Democrats as a better option than Joe Biden?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, presently it doesn’t seem that that that they’re you know, I believe that President Biden right now is the only candidate that the Democratic Party is advancing. And I believe that, you know, should he and when he wins the nomination, he will absolutely have my support. He has you know, he has my support as the candidate for president. Yes.
DAVIS: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we thank you so much for coming on the show. Appreciate your time.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you.
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