GOP compares Ocasio-Cortez to Trump

A political neophyte from New York has an enormous Twitter following, punches back hard at the press, takes on critics within the party and has completely upended the Washington establishment.

No, it's not Donald Trump. It's Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezObama: You lose people with 'snappy' slogans like 'defund the police' The left's turn against freedom: Curb speech, ban books, make an 'enemies list' Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else' MORE, the self-described democratic socialist whose sharp tongue, take-no-prisoners approach and 24/7 presence on social media and TV has Republicans on and off Capitol Hill comparing the 29-year-old freshman phenom to the 72-year-old president of the United States.


Talk-show host Meghan McCain called Trump and Ocasio-Cortez “two sides of the same coin” and said the liberal, Latina bomb thrower from the Bronx was “just like Trump on Twitter.”

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerFirst release from Fox News Books reaches No. 2 on Amazon top-seller list GOP lawmaker says colleagues 'waiting' for Trump to come to terms with loss GOP lawmaker: Trump implementing a 'loyalty purge' amid firing of top cybersecurity official MORE (R-Ill.) said he, too, sees obvious parallels between DJT and AOC.

“Whether it’s President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE or AOC, it’s all based on ginning up anger and fear and it's unfortunate,” Kinzinger, a frequent cable news presence who has a relatively paltry 46,500 Twitter followers compared to Ocasio-Cortez’s 2.6 million, told The Hill.

“And I think it's that kind of stuff that's killing our ability to get done things like solve the government shutdown. … If you look at Twitter, not everyone is on Twitter, but all the loudest voices are,” he said.

A senior GOP source observing Ocasio-Cortez on Capitol Hill put it more bluntly: “They are the same f---ing person. Think about it.”

“She’s about the extremes of her party: free college, free health care, jobs for all. Trump is about being tough on borders and pro-life policies,” the source said. “They are the bases of their parties and the loudest voices of their parties.”  

In a brief interview this week, Ocasio-Cortez scoffed at the suggestion that she’s anything like Trump, a political outsider who muscled his way to the top of his party in 2016 with a slash-and-burn approach and harsh, anti-immigrant message that have fractured Republicans in Washington.

“I think it’s an unoriginal comparison. While we’re both popular on Twitter … and we’re plain spoken, that’s it,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Hill. “Aside from that, I think it’s an irresponsible comparison given the fact that he’s actively trying to assert mythology and hurt immigrants, and we’re trying to advance a progressive agenda, single-payer health care and a living wage.”

Many fellow Democrats praised Ocasio-Cortez for injecting youth into a party dominated by septuagenarian legislators, mastering social media to engage a new set of voters and shifting the national debate on a Green New Deal on climate change, universal health care, higher wages and a 70 percent tax rate on those making at least $10 million. Last week, Ocasio-Cortez — recently spotted dancing on Twitter and cooking on Instagram Live — earned kudos from colleagues for leading a workshop on how lawmakers can be more effective on social media platforms.

“Absurd” is how Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalInequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks MORE (D-Wash.), a key progressive leader in Congress, described the Trump–Ocasio-Cortez comparisons. “She’s an extremely smart member of Congress who represents her district and has been putting forth ideas that will move the country forward.”

“I think she’s bright, articulate, energetic and passionate,” added centrist Rep. Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickDemocrat O'Halleran wins reelection in Arizona House race Arizona Rep. Tom O'Halleran wins Democratic primary Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick wins Democratic primary MORE (D-Ariz.), who represents a swing district on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyThis week: Congress races to wrap work for the year GSA offers to brief Congress next week on presidential transition Democrats gear up for last oversight showdown with Trump MORE (D-Va.) called Ocasio-Cortez one of a kind: “She's sui generis. She's uniquely her own. She's resembles no one else.”

But Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, has also rubbed many of her senior Democratic colleagues the wrong way.

Some are still smarting from her shocking victory over Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), the Queens power broker and House Democratic Caucus chairman, in a primary race last summer. Others have taken issue with her association with Justice Democrats, a liberal outside group that helped her knock off Crowley and has vowed to target other entrenched Democrats, including Rep. Henry Cuellar (R-Texas) and others the group does not deem progressive enough.

Her chief of staff and communications director, Saikat Chakrabarti and Corbin Trent, respectively, both helped found Justice Democrats.

Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyBiden's gain is Democratic baseball's loss with Cedric Richmond Business groups breathe sigh of relief over prospect of divided government Ocasio-Cortez glides to reelection MORE was one of the most loyal Democrats I’ve ever met here. He was a hard worker. He was a bridge builder, and we should all try to be bridge builders,” Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellTalk of self-pardon for Trump heats up House Democrats urge congressional leaders to support .1B budget for IRS Press: Trump's biggest fear is — lock him up MORE (D-N.J.), a close Crowley friend, told The Hill. “To me, this is a time to unite to get something positive done for the country. In the midst of the [government shutdown] chaos, you’re talking about moving against one of your own? To me that doesn’t make much sense."

“She’s not Donald Trump; she’s not a divider,” Pascrell said. “But I don’t agree with what she’s doing.”

Added Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), who’s also been critical of Ocasio-Cortez in the past: “I don’t think we should target each other. I don’t like that part.”

Other Democratic critics privately say they’re just sick of being asked about her and talking about her, just as much as they’re sick of Trump. They see her as a media celebrity like Trump, who won his first political office with no experience in policymaking or governing.

“It’s a very fair comparison,” said one Democratic lawmaker, who is no fan of either Trump or Ocasio-Cortez. “Some in [the media] are doing a disservice because you’ve lifted her to such heighty lofts. Here’s someone who’s never been in a legislative position or an executive position — that’s going to cause her to fall. She’s 29 years old and has no concept of what being an effective legislator is all about."

“Let’s see who she gravitates to for president. Hopefully, she’ll want to run herself and get her ass out of here,” the lawmaker said just off the House floor.

Ocasio-Cortez generally has been friendly to the Capitol Hill press corps, granting brief hallway interviews and speaking to reporters at recent receptions around town.

But she never hesitates to unleash her 2.6 million Twitter followers on specific reporters or news outlets when she feels she’s been wronged — another similarity to Trump.

Last week, Ocasio-Cortez engaged in a Twitter fight with National Journal politics editor Josh Kraushaar‏ after she criticized CBS News for the diversity of its 2020 campaign team. Kraushaar replied: “Another thing AOC has in common with Trump: media scold.”

Ocasio-Cortez quickly hit back: “Or: maybe having powerful editorial positions awash in people from one race, class, or gender isn’t a good idea; since we get 1000% more takes on ‘brown lady says a curse word’ than an actual white supremacist in Congress.

“If you won’t look the mirror, people will do it for you.”

Earlier this week, Ocasio-Cortez hit back at The Hill for publishing the headline: “Ocasio-Cortez: I give ‘zero’ f---s about pushback from other Democrats.” The congresswoman had been asked by late-night comedian Stephen Colbert “how many f---s” she gave when criticized by members of her party. She put her hands in the shape of a “O” and said “zero.”

“I actually didn’t say this, so while I know ‘brown women cursing’ drives clicks, maybe you accurately quote the whole exchange instead of manipulating people into thinking I said this sentence instead of just the word ‘zero,’” she replied in a tweet.

It was retweeted 32,000 times.

This story was updated at 12:14 p.m.