Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has been a lightning rod for (often unfounded) criticism ever since she won her Democratic primary this summer. And it looks like, as an elected official, it won’t be going away.
Tuesday was Ocasio-Cortez’s first day at the Capitol, and fans of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are mad on Twitter. Ocasio-Cortez joined people outside the office of the current House minority leader and likely speaker to raise awareness of climate change.
In her comments about why she was there, Ocasio-Cortez praised Pelosi, saying she appreciated the congresswoman’s background of activism, and that the protest was to “back her up” in pushing for climate change legislation when Democrats take over the House in January 2019.
.@Ocasio2018 kicks off first day of freshmen orientation with a protest @NancyPelosi’s office. pic.twitter.com/KBVjLvHVPU— Nicole Gaudiano (@ngaudiano) November 13, 2018
Some might call a group of people rallying in support of a cause a rally, but, online it was labeled a protest, and of course, Ocasio-Cortez was immediately attacked for a variety of reasons—not waiting her turn, not aligning with a party leader, etc.
gross. first day and she is attacking Democrats. Pelosi passed climate change legislation. Why can't AOC go after Republicans?— mark dutcher (@markdutcher) November 13, 2018
Then why not just pick up the phone or ask for a mtg? Optics matter here.— Kori Zenz (@KoRickZenz) November 13, 2018
Someone should probably mention to Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez that Nancy Pelosi controls the committee assignments that are freshmen Reps’ only real opportunity to have an impact.— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) November 13, 2018
Blowing off one’s own foot during orientation. Genius. https://t.co/ONhzGagZfC
Really disappointed in you, @Ocasio2018. Pelosi has the chops and experience defeating Republicans. It’d be great if you’d get some legislative work done before you assume to know more than the women who helped pave the way for your success. https://t.co/gPm10t6AoA— Kimberley Johnson (@AuthorKimberley) November 14, 2018
Not real happy with this @Ocasio2018. https://t.co/h8ULpIGWc0— JustLetMeFinish (@JustLetMeFinish) November 14, 2018
That Ocasio-Cortez, who has been outspoken all year, would suddenly shut up because she walked into the Capitol seems like a stretch. That she would immediately become a moderate Dem to help the caucus is similarly out of character for her. That she would join a rally to bring attention to a cause she believes in is exactly in line with who she is.
And that Ocasio-Cortez chose to spend her first day on the Hill discussing climate change simply shows that she believes climate change to be the most pressing issue facing her constituents and this country. Regardless of what people think of that stance, the most pressing issue this country is facing is certainly not whether she will be nice to Pelosi, or whether she should take her place in Congress’ staid pecking order.
But because she’s a woman, telling her to “shut up” is the response she’s often going to get, even when she’s rallying for a cause Democrats (are ostensibly supposed to) believe in.