Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezGeorge Conway calls Trump a 'racist president' in new op-ed House Democrats introduce resolution condemning Trump for 'racist' comments Trump's family separation policy has taken US to 'lowest depth possible,' says former immigration lawyer 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 BrzezinskiBiden jokes he's ready for a push-up competition with Trump Biden says his presidency would not be 'a third term of Obama' Biden knocks Trump on tweets about 'smart as hell' Ocasio-Cortez 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 RoyRising number of GOP lawmakers criticize Trump remarks about minority Dems The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Ocasio-Cortez defends being sworn in at hearing on conditions for migrants MORE (R-Texas), Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarOcasio-Cortez defends being sworn in at hearing on conditions for migrants Live coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy Pelosi takes fire from progressives over border MORE (D-Texas), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyKellyanne Conway: 'I totally disagree' with husband's op-ed calling Trump racist Scaramucci calls Trump tweets 'racist and unacceptable' House Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting MORE (D-Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibScaramucci calls Trump tweets 'racist and unacceptable' House Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Black Caucus leader calls Trump's attacks on minority lawmakers 'despicable' 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.