Senate

Ocasio-Cortez on challenging Schumer: ‘I’m trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) this week did not rule out a 2022 primary challenge to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), saying she is still deciding what her plans for the future are.

“I’m not playing coy or anything like that. I’m still very much in a place where I’m trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress, our [political] process, and our country actually address the issues of climate change, health care, wage inequality, etc.,” she told the newly launched publication Punchbowl in an exclusive interview.

Asked whether her decision would be affected if Democrats look likely to lose their House majority, Ocasio-Cortez responded “I’m not sure about that either. For me, I don’t make these decisions based on these short-term factors.”

The 30-year-old congresswoman went on to say she is thinking beyond a two-year time frame, saying “If I want to have a child, I would want my child – or my nieces or nephews – to have guaranteed health care by the time they’re my age. And freedom from want. I’m also very indecisive.”

As to her relationship with Schumer, she told the newsletter “He and I have an open relationship, we speak to each other regularly.”

Asked if she believed the minority leader is doing a satisfactory job, Ocasio-Cortez called that a “hard thing to say.”

“We’ve had to deal with a fascist president and [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.],” she said. “There’s this thing, ‘Are we doing a good job?’ There are things you can do in the minority. There are also things you couldn’t do with this minority because Senate rules changed.”

The New York congresswoman, who unseated a House veteran in a Democratic primary in 2018 on her path to winning her seat has been asked numerous times whether she is considering challenging Schumer but has never directly expressed a desire to do so.

In a December interview with The Intercept’s podcast she said the Democratic Party “needs new leadership,” but said “the House is extraordinarily complex, and I’m not ready. It can’t be me. I know that I couldn’t do that job.”

Despite her public statements, President Trump has repeatedly predicted Ocasio-Cortez would win a primary challenge against Schumer, while last week state Democratic Party boss Jay Jacobs told the New York Post any such challenge would be doomed to failure.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Mitch McConnell

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