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Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘run train’ phrase becomes conservative sex controversy
She didn’t mean it that way.
Talking about a fake nude photo that had circulated on conservative sites purporting to show the congresswoman, Ocasio-Cortez told the Post that outlets had been mincing her words.
“They’ve been for a very long time focusing on taking quotes out of context or manipulating them or making it seem as though I said things that I didn’t say,” Ocasio-Cortez said, later adding, “So enjoy being exhausted for the next two years while we run train on the progressive agenda.”
Ocasio-Cortez used the phrase to describe efforts by Democrats to pursue their agendas, but critics zeroed in on the sexually explicit definitions of “run train” listed on slang dictionary websites.
Ben Shapiro’s conservative news website Daily Wire characterized the phrase as a “violent sexual term” based on definitions on Urban Dictionary and the Online Slang Dictionary, which say “run train” can mean to “gangbang” someone. (Urban Dictionary publishes user-submitted definitions to words, while Online Slang Dictionary is run by a singular editor.)
On Twitter, Shapiro and others blasted Ocasio-Cortez’s use of the phrase.
Alex from the Bronx should probably know what “run train” means and why this is hilariously terrible https://t.co/4Tm6kyCzpM
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 16, 2019
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) January 16, 2019
As someone who speaks live on-air, w/o “net” — understand misspeaking. Happens to best of us.
But know no other context for this vile phrase. As someone who investigated violent street crime for years, this is vernacular of felons I’ve interrogated; not a sitting Congresswoman. https://t.co/2PeQXGFDMg
— James A. Gagliano (@JamesAGagliano) January 16, 2019
Neither the Oxford English Dictionary nor Merriam-Webster offer definitions for “run train.”
Urban Dictionary also includes a definition for the phrase relating to video games: “to do work on multiple people in a game or anything that has competition.”
Kris Seavers is the Evening Editor for the Daily Dot, where she covers breaking news, politics, and LGBTQ issues. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.