Ocasio-Cortez rips Trump in first House floor speech

Democratic rising star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHillicon Valley: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship Sanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally Biden endorsed by former Connecticut senator, 51 Massachusetts leaders MORE (N.Y.) gave her first House floor speech on Wednesday, delivering a rebuke of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE over the ongoing partial government shutdown.

In the roughly three-minute speech, Ocasio-Cortez claimed the partial shutdown, now into its fourth week, is not about Trump’s demands for a border wall but “the erosion of American democracy.”

“It is actually not about a wall, it is not about the border, and it is certainly not about the well-being of everyday Americans,” the congresswoman said. “The truth is, this shutdown is about the erosion of American democracy and the subversion of our most basic governmental norms.”

ADVERTISEMENT

”It is not normal to hold 800,000 workers’ paychecks hostage. It is not normal to shut down the government when we don’t get what we want,” she continued. “And it is certainly not normal to starve the people we serve for a proposal that is wildly unpopular among the American people.”

Ocasio-Cortez shared the story of one of her constituents, a Yemeni immigrant who works as an air traffic controller supervisor at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The man, who has two children and a mortgage, was one of the 800,000 federal workers who missed their first paychecks last week due to the funding lapse, the lawmaker said.

“Federal workers’ jobs are stressful enough,” she said, before calling out Trump for “anti-immigrant sentiment,” which she says also contributes to her constituent’s stress.

Ocasio-Cortez concluded her speech by saying that the president has a “responsibility” to her constituents and all federal workers’ well-being.

“President Trump has a responsibility to all air traffic controllers, FDA inspectors, TSA workers,” she said. “And he has a responsibility to maintain the basic functioning of the United States government.”

Earlier Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez and a number of her fellow freshmen Democrats marched to the Senate side of the Capitol to hand-deliver a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Trump's troop pull back in Syria a 'grave strategic mistake' Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump TSA head rules himself out for top DHS job   MORE (R-Ky.) urging him to end the ongoing shutdown.