Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezGreta Thunberg scolds Congress on climate action: 'I know you are trying but just not hard enough' Ocasio-Cortez endorses challenger to Democrat Lipinski in Illinois race The Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? MORE (D-N.Y.) on Friday responded to critics who questioned why she was sworn in to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

The freshman lawmaker, who sits on the Oversight panel, stood at the witness table Thursday and raised her hand to be sworn in for a hearing focused on conditions for migrants families at the United States's southern border.

In response to a tweet from MSNBC host and liberal commentator Mika BrzezinskiMika Emilie BrzezinskiMattis: 'I don't know how I could have spoken more loudly' against Trump than by quitting In three years of Trump's presidency, who has branded whom? Brzezinski fires back at Trump after he lashes out at 'Morning Joe': 'I'm sad and disgusted' MORE questioning why the lawmaker was sworn in — a step taken for witnesses but not usually for members of Congress — Ocasio-Cortez maintained she was asked to make the move.

“GOP has alleged that I am lying about the accounts of migrant women at the border, particularly about the fact that they were were told to drink out of a toilet bowl. Committee staff conferred with me ahead of time about formally requesting to be sworn in,” she wrote. 

Ocasio-Cortez similarly told a reporter for USA Today that the request came from committee staff.


"It was committee staff that had approached me about the formal request so this is not something that even kind of started w/us,” she explained, according to a tweet from USA Today reporter Christal Hayes.

Others on social media questioned why the lawmaker was sworn in before her testimony, including a number of conservative writers and commentators who called the move unnecessary for a member of Congress.

During the hearing, Ocasio-Cortez delivered an emotional testimony about her experience visiting migrant detention centers in Texas earlier this month, describing poor conditions and slamming the Trump administration for separating families at the southern border. 

“What’s worse, Mr. Chairman, was the fact that there were American flags hanging all over these facilities,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “That children were being separated from their parents in front of the American flag, that women were being called these names under an American flag, we cannot allow for this."

A slate of lawmakers were on a panel before the committee Friday. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Michael Cloud (R-Texas), Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyTexas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state GOP lawmakers call for provisions barring DOD funds for border wall to be dropped Lawmakers mark anniversary of Martin Luther King 'I have a dream' speech MORE (R-Texas), Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarGun epidemic is personal for lawmakers touched by violence House holds moment of silence for El Paso victims House Republicans want details on Democrats' trips to Mexico MORE (D-Texas), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Pressley on Kavanaugh impeachment: 'Deeply disturbing' that a justice 'could have this many allegations' Trump praises Kavanaugh as a 'great, brilliant man,' blasts NYT over 'smear' report at rally MORE (D-Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOmar says she hopes Netanyahu not reelected Bill Maher, Michael Moore spar over Democrats' strategy for 2020 Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight MORE (D-Mich.) also testified.

Trump administration officials Jennifer Costello, the acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security; Ann Maxwell, assistant inspector general for evaluation and inspections at the Department of Health and Human Services; and Elora Mukherjee and Jennifer Nagda, lawyers who've visited the shelters, were also scheduled to testify in a second panel. 

Ocasio-Cortez first shared her claim about migrants being told to drink out of toilets after visiting a Customs and Border Protection facility earlier this month. CBP officials have disputed those allegations.