Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Bloomberg's 2020 moves draw ire from Democrats Sanders: Potential Bloomberg run shows 'arrogance of billionaires' Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez see 'class solidarity' in report Bezos asked Bloomberg to run 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 BrzezinskiTYT's Cenk Uygur rips Dems condemning Trump 'lock him up' chant: 'Most feckless party' ever 'Sorry Joe' trends as Scarborough faces backlash for defending Trump after World Series chant Scarborough scolds Nats fans for 'lock him up' chant: 'We are Americans and we do not do that' 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 RoyLawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings Trump congratulates China on anniversary as GOP lawmakers decry communist rule Texas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state MORE (R-Texas), Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarHouse Democrats target Latino vote in Texas Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings Lawmakers, social media users praise photo of Pelosi confronting Trump MORE (D-Texas), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyJustice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (D-Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBloomberg run should push Warren to the center — but won't Justice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race 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.