Ocasio-Cortez accuses GOP leader of being 'complicit in advancing racism in America'

Ocasio-Cortez accuses GOP leader of being 'complicit in advancing racism in America'
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezObamas' first Netflix project nominated for Critics' Choice Documentary Awards Sanders wishes Ocasio-Cortez happy birthday Democrat launches primary challenge to Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-N.Y.) bashed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFury over Trump Syria decision grows Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump to slap sanctions on Turkey for Syria offensive | Trump calls on Turkey to broker ceasefire | Pelosi, Graham seek deal on sanctions | Ex-Trump aide testifies in impeachment probe Trump: Let Assad, Russia or China protect the Kurds MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday after he defended President Trump from charges of racism.

The New York Democrat accused McConnell of being "complicit in advancing racism" after he declined to directly condemn tweets from Trump telling Ocasio-Cortez and three other congresswomen to "go back" to foreign countries.

Trump's tweets targeted Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibTrump labels Tlaib 'a despicable human being' Tlaib says Democrats have discussed detaining White House officials who don't testify The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment MORE (D-Mich.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarIlhan Omar raises .1 million in third quarter New California law bans school lunch debt shaming The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies Trump pushed for her ouster MORE (D-Minn.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPennsylvania candidate would be first autistic woman elected to a state legislature Pressley joins hundreds of activists calling for Kavanaugh impeachment: 'I believe in the power of us' The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment MORE (D-Mass.). All of the lawmakers targeted by Trump are U.S. citizens, and all but one were born in the U.S.

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“When you tell American citizens to go back to their country, especially when we are sworn citizens and duly elected by fellow American citizens … that has everything to do with race,” Ocasio-Cortez told ABC News.

“They have targeted four congresswomen of color who are American citizens with a classic line of white supremacy,” she continued. “And they are trying to pivot, and they are trying to excuse it, and frankly the majority leader is complicit in advancing racism in America if he doesn’t even have the backbone to speak out against most basic, basic line.”

McConnell insisted Trump was not a racist when asked about the tweets Tuesday, instead saying that “all different ideological points of view” were guilty of “overheated” rhetoric.

“From the president to the Speaker to freshman members of the House — all of us have the responsibility to elevate the public discourse,” he said.

Asked how he would respond if someone told his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoChao met with more officials from Kentucky than any other state: report Ex-senior Trump administration official joins lobbying shop Industry spends big to sell safety of driverless cars MORE, to go back to Taiwan, where she was born, McConnell said Chao came to the U.S. legally.

Omar, the only target of Trump’s tweet born outside the U.S., also entered the country legally and is a U.S. citizen.

"I think there’s a consensus that political rhetoric has really gotten way, way overheated all across the political spectrum," McConnell said in prepared remarks.

"Lower all this incendiary rhetoric. Everyone should do it," he added in response to a question.