Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) drew backlash after she blamed former President Donald Trump for her grandmother’s squalid living conditions in Puerto Rico on June 2.
Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet she went to visit her grandmother in Puerto Rico for the first time in a year “bc of COVID.” The post contained two photos of an empty room with a wet, sagging roof and buckets to collect falling rain, with only an old chair facing a wall as furnishings. The 31-year-old Representative said “Hurricane María relief hasn’t arrived. Trump blocked relief $ for PR. People are being forced to flee ancestral homes, & developers are taking them.”
Maria was a category 4 hurricane that occurred in September of 2017 causing widespread devastation to the island of Puerto Rico. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called Maria the “third costliest hurricane in United States history.”
AOC also added in a follow-up post, “In the aftermath of María, the Trump admin oversaw two key items: handing millions in public $ to unqualified donor pals (ex Whitefish)…The other was to impose extremely difficult eligibility rules for Puerto Ricans, which allowed mass rejections of recovery fund applications.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s comments were a natural magnet for criticism. Lavern Spicer, a black woman running for Congress in Florida, chastised AOC, saying “Honey, you drive a Tesla and have two apartments. If your grandmother is living poor that’s because you don’t help her out. I’m surprised that a socialist wouldn’t redistribute that wealth to their grandma. Sad!”
Courtney Kirchoff, an ordinary person, pointed out the moral fallacy of the argument, “Very sad indeed. Why aren’t you spreading your wealth around and helping her out?” while blogger and YouTube personality Matt Walsh shared a similar moral principle, “Shameful that you live in luxury while allowing your own grandmother to suffer in these squalid conditions.”
AOC accused Walsh of not having “a concept for the role that 1st-gen, first-born daughters play in their families,” and virtue signalling she was “calling attention to the systemic injustices you seem totally fine w/ in having a US colony.”
But Walsh held his ground on the traditional principle of filial piety and respect for one’s parents, “You used your grandmother’s suffering to score political points. You’re the one who publicized this. So I am entitled now to ask why you haven’t bothered to fix your grandmother’s collapsing roof or buy her some new furniture? Why are you waiting for the government to do it?
AOC’s Twitter byline says “In a modern, moral, & wealthy society, no American should be too poor to live.”
While Ocasio-Cortez is both young and a former bartender and student, the salary for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives is by no means light at $174,000 per year.
According to Financial Disclosure Filings, the Democratic Socialists of America member actually claims a negative net worth. AOC has only revealed her finances for filing year 2019, where she declared only a 401k retirement fund under $15,000 and a Charles Schwab checking account under $15,000.
Both are offset by a student loan owed to the U.S. Department of Education under $50,000 for her 2011 BA in International Relations and Economics from the prestigious Boston University, a school rated as 87 percent more expensive than the national average for private non-profit colleges according to CollegeCalc.
On April 26, AOC filed a 90-day extension request for her filing year 2020 disclosures. The new information will not be due until Aug. 13 of this year.
Website Financial Samurai estimates Ocasio-Cortez on her current salary, based on average cost of living in Washington and reasonable recreation expenditures, is likely left with more than $7,000 in disposable monthly income on her post-tax income of $11,600 per month.
AOC was sworn in as a Congresswoman in January of 2019.
Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Kevin Dalton joined the criticism, “You make nearly $200,000 a year. Why not peel off a few bucks for a family member in need?”
“That’s literally what family does for one another.”
“Sell your Tesla! You should be ashamed for letting her live like this. We have a responsibility to care for our elders!,” chided one anonymous Twitter pundit.