Ocasio-Cortez, Cornyn feud over Mussolini tweet

Ocasio-Cortez, Cornyn feud over Mussolini tweet
© Greg Nash

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSuper PAC head spars with CNN's Cuomo over Ocasio-Cortez ad Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Ocasio-Cortez endorses Markey in Senate race amid speculation over Kennedy candidacy MORE (D-N.Y.) lashed out at Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Congress set to ignore Trump's wall request in stopgap measure Cruz: Texas will be 'hotly contested' in 2020 MORE (R-Texas) on Tuesday for quoting Benito Mussolini in a tweet.

Ocasio-Cortez criticized the former Senate GOP whip for linking fascism to socialism with the tweet, saying it was part and parcel for a party that she said called paying a living wage "socialism."

"In case you missed it, while the GOP is calling paying a living wage 'socialism,' a Republican Senator full-on quoted National Fascist Party leader and Hitler ally Benito Mussolini like it’s a Hallmark card," the first-year lawmaker tweeted.

Cornyn on Sunday had tweeted a quotation from the Italian fascist dictator. 


“We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become.”

Cornyn's tweet provoked some head-scratching online, but he responded that one reader had correctly interpreted the tweet as a warning against an overly powerful central government.


Cornyn in another tweet said he may have overestimated the "intelligence" of people on Twitter with his original tweet.

On Monday, Coryn added further context, noting that the quote appeared in Austrian political philosopher Friedrich Hayek's book "The Road to Serfdom."

Hayek's 1944 book is a criticism of state-run planned economies, and he argues that those systems inevitably devolve into tyranny and fascism.

Perceptions of socialism are shifting in America. A poll from August of last year showed Democrats have more positive perceptions of socialism than of capitalism.

That change has been reflected in the growing number of elected officials who self-identify as some form of socialist, including Ocasio-Cortez and 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersYoung insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Biden's debate performance renews questions of health Saagar Enjeti rips Harris's 'empty promises' MORE (I-Vt.). 

Republicans have ratcheted up their attacks on the ideology recently, specifically using the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela as a launching point for broader criticisms of socialism.

During his State of the Union address earlier this month, President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE condemned "the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair."

He added that “here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination and control.”

In a speech later in the month about Venezuela, Trump said that "socialism is dying" across the Western Hemisphere and blamed the ideology for the collapsing economy in the South American nation.