Ocasio-Cortez knocks Buttigieg: He has adopted a ‘GOP talking point’ on education

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) knocked Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg for using what she called a “GOP talking point” to take aim at proposals for tuition-free public college.

In a campaign video tweeted out on Thursday, Buttigieg says, “I believe we should move to make college affordable for everybody.”

“There are some voices saying, ‘well that doesn’t count unless you go even further, unless it’s free even for the kids of millionaires,’ but I only want to make promises that we can keep,” the South Bend, Ind., mayor continued. “We can gather the majority to drive those big ideas through without turning off half the country before we even get into office.” 

The comments by Buttigieg come several months after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who Ocasio-Cortez has endorsed in the 2020 presidential race, released an ambitious plan to cancel nearly $1.6 trillion in student debt for millions in less than a year if elected to office. The plan builds upon the senator’s earlier calls for free college tuition in public universities. 

In a Twitter thread taking aim at Buttigieg’s comments on Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez wrote: “This is a GOP talking point used to dismantle public systems, & it’s sad to see a Dem candidate adopt it.” 

“Let’s talk about why Republicans are wrong on this. Just like rich kids can attend public school, they should be able to attend tuition-free public college. Here’s why,” she continued. “Universal public systems are designed to benefit EVERYBODY! Everyone contributes & everyone enjoys. We don’t ban the rich from public schools, firefighters, or libraries bc they are public goods.” 

“Universal systems that benefit everyone are stronger bc everyone’s invested!” the freshman progressive lawmaker went on, adding a third reason: “When you start carving people out & adding asterisks to who can benefit from goods that should be available to all, cracks in the system develop.”

Further in the thread, Ocasio-Cortez wrote that “many children of the elite want to go to private, Ivyesque schools anyway, which aren’t covered by tuition-free public college!”

“Lastly, and I can’t believe we have to remind people of this, but it’s GOOD to have classrooms (from pre-k through college!) to be socioeconomically integrated,” she added. “Having students from different incomes & backgrounds in the same classroom is good for society & economic mobility.”

Buttigieg’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Ocasio-Cortez, who first rose to prominence last year after defeating a 10 term-incumbent Democrat in the 2018 primaries, endorsed Sanders in the presidential race last month.

If he is elected president in 2020, Sanders has said that the freshman lawmaker will play a “very important role” in his administration.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Pete Buttigieg

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