Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) attends a press conference

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Called Out Donald Trump for Disrespecting Her During the Debate

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Donald Trump said a lot of weird, insulting things during last night’s presidential debate, including bringing up Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when criticizing Joe Biden’s climate plan. When speaking about her, Trump used the nickname AOC, and “AOC plus three” to refer to the squad of progressive freshman lawmakers: Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib.

Trump called Biden’s climate plan an “economic disaster” and said that it was “developed” by “AOC+3.” Trump loves bringing up the Green New Deal, co-written by AOC and Senator Ed Markey, as a scaremongering tactic. While Biden has said that he used the plan as a framework for his own, it’s not the same. But Trump likes to say that Biden wants to implement Ocasio-Cortez’s plan, as if that makes him some sort of scary progressive, rather than just someone who accepts basic science.

“They know nothing about the climate,” Trump said at the debate. “I mean, she’s got a good line of stuff, but she knows nothing about the climate. And they’re all hopping through hoops for AOC+3.”

Ocasio-Cortez took notice of Trump’s name-dropping, and specifically his decision to use her nickname.

“I wonder if Republicans understand how much they advertise their disrespect of women in debates when they consistently call women members of Congress by nicknames or first names while using titles & last names when referring to men of = stature,” she wrote. “Women notice. It conveys a lot.”

She also clarified that she doesn’t mind the AOC nickname, it’s just not what Trump should be calling her, especially in this context.

Ocasio-Cortez called Mike Pence out for doing the same thing during the vice presidential debate earlier this month.

“AOC” is one of the least insulting nicknames Trump uses to refer to Democratic politicians but it’s still inappropriate here. Even more derisive, though, is his insistence on referring to three sitting Congresswomen, all women of color, as “plus three.” It’s so dismissive of them not just as sitting members of Congress, but as individual human beings.

But as usual, Ocasio-Cortez was able to flip Trump’s insults around into a win for her. I don’t know what Trump meant when he said she has “a good line of stuff” but she took the opportunity to plug some absolutely gorgeous merch.

(image: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.