Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

Dimitri Rodriguez/Flickr (CC-BY)

Conservatives accuse AOC of neglecting her grandmother

Pictures shared by the congresswoman from Puerto Rico sparked widespread debate.

 

Mikael Thalen

Tech

Published Jun 3, 2021   Updated Jun 3, 2021, 1:04 pm CDT

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has found herself at the center of yet another partisan squabble after tweeting about her grandmother on Wednesday.

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The congresswoman, who recently traveled to Puerto Rico after her grandmother fell ill, shared photographs of her trip on Twitter and immediately sparked both sympathy and criticism.

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Taken inside the home of Ocasio-Cortez’s grandmother, the pictures show dilapidated conditions reportedly caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

“Just over a week ago, my abuela fell ill. I went to Puerto Rico to see her- my 1st time in a year+ bc of COVID. This is her home,” the congresswoman tweeted. “Hurricane María relief hasn’t arrived. Trump blocked relief $ for PR. People are being forced to flee ancestral homes, & developers are taking them.”

But opponents of Ocasio-Cortez claimed that the pictures highlighted the congresswoman’s mistreatment of her own grandmother.

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Prominent conservatives such as Daily Wire commentator Matt Walsh accused the Ocasio-Cortez of failing to financially support her grandmother in the wake of the nearly 4-year-old natural disaster.

“Shameful that you live in luxury while allowing your own grandmother to suffer in these squalid conditions,” Walsh tweeted.

Lavern Spicer, a Republican candidate running for office in Florida, likewise suggested that Ocasio-Cortez had ignored her grandmother’s plight.

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“Honey, you drive a Tesla and have two apartments. If your grandmother is living poor that’s because you don’t help her out,” Spicer said. “I’m surprised that a socialist wouldn’t redistribute that wealth to their grandma. Sad!”

Supporters of Ocasio-Cortez viewed the tweet differently. They argued that it in fact showed the congresswoman’s concern for not only her grandmother’s well-being, but the well-being of Puerto Rico as a whole.

“Thank you for continuing to do a great job,” comedian Kathy Griffin wrote. “You represent Americans better than we represent ourselves.”

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Others pushed back on the assertion that Ocasio-Cortez was wealthy and the claim that vehicles made by Tesla were luxury items.

“Funny that many people think the salary AOC makes is alot [sic] of money to live off of in the US AND that Teslas are luxury cars,” @nicolejabaut said.

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But critics of Ocasio-Cortez pushed back further by arguing that the congresswoman’s salary, roughly $174,000 a year, provided more than enough to fix her grandmother’s home.

“You make nearly $200,000 a year. Why not peel off a few bucks for a family member in need?” @NextLAMayor tweeted. “That’s literally what family does for one another.”

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Ocasio-Cortez eventually responded to the attacks by stating that her grandmother was taken care of before further highlighting the “systemic injustices” in Puerto Rico.

“You don’t even have a concept for the role that 1st-gen, first-born daughters play in their families. My abuela is okay,” the congresswoman said. “But instead of only caring for mine & letting others suffer, I’m calling attention to the systemic injustices you seem totally fine w/ in having a US colony.”

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More than 3,000 lives were lost as a result of Hurricane Maria, which also caused an estimated $90 billion in damages to Puerto Rico.


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*First Published: Jun 3, 2021, 11:53 am CDT