Ocasio-Cortez rips Trump in first House floor speech

Democratic rising star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezVideo of Ocasio-Cortez being lovingly attacked by a dog goes viral after #NationalLoveYourPetDay Dem lawmaker inspires social media users to share selfies in their glasses Overnight Energy: Trump ends talks with California on car emissions | Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal | Climate PAC backing Inslee in possible 2020 run MORE (N.Y.) gave her first House floor speech on Wednesday, delivering a rebuke of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall 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.”

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”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 McConnellOvernight Energy: Trump ends talks with California on car emissions | Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal | Climate PAC backing Inslee in possible 2020 run Poll: 33% of Kentucky voters approve of McConnell Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump MORE (R-Ky.) urging him to end the ongoing shutdown.