Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, is urging the Democrat Party leadership to “do more” to promote “vision” for the country,” like “codifying abortion” and “reproductive rights to prevent Trump from regaining the presidency.
NBC’s Kristen Welker pressed Cortez on why Joe Biden is “struggling against” Donald Trump” in the 2024 presidential race as the former president battles four indictments while getting “slapped with an $83 million civil suit.”
The progressive “squad member” firebrand evaded the question, arguing Nikki Haley’s losing performance in New Hampshire is indicative of Trump’s weak candidacy.
“We can take a look at the overall landscape here. It’s not just what we are talking about with President Biden, uh, but former President Trump also has extraordinary vulnerabilities,” she said. “We saw that in the fact that he is a former sitting president, virtually head of his party, virtually everyone has dropped out and endorsed him, and still, as we just saw, Nikki Haley — she cleared about 43 percent in New Hampshire bodes very not well for Donald Trump and his ability to win a general election.”
“When it comes to President Biden, you know, I think we need to really focus and understand young people are a very strong part of this electorate. We have a diverse coalition in the Democratic Party that has its own concerns. Whether it is what’s happening in Gaza, or any other of issues. But right now, I think November is going to be about the coalition we put together and the policy promise we can make between now and then.”
Welker pressed Cortez again on whether Biden is equipped to defeat Trump.
“Do you think President Biden is the strongest person to take on former President Trump given everything you’ve just said,” Welker asked the congresswoman.
Cortez downplayed Trump’s win in New Hampshire and evaded the question regarding Biden’s dwindling support a second time, noting Biden garnered more votes in the 2020 race than Obama.
“I think what we have right now, what we’ve seen in New Hampshire, he is virtually the nominee of the party. His turnout in New Hampshire is actually not something to ignore. We saw from a write-in campaign –remember President Biden wasn’t even on the ballot in New Hampshire. He won overwhelmingly with turnout that even exceeded Obama’s 2012 turnout, when Obama was on the ballot. And so there are quite a few indicators of his strength in New Hampshire. We will see what happens in South Carolina and of course when we get into important primaries like Michigan.”
After Cortez sidestepped the question and changed the subject, Kersten pressed Cortez a third time on the prospects of Biden defeating Trump.
“Just to be clear though,” Welker asked, “Do you think the president is the strongest person to take on Mr. Trump, if he is the nominee, and that’s still an if?”
“Uh, yes,” Cortez said. “Especially when we look at this field. We have Dean Phillips and Marriam Williamson, President Biden I think without questions among that field is the strongest nominee.”
Cortez ceded Biden is dissuading voters as his administration fails to tout his plans for the future, like “codifying reproductive rights” and forgiving student debt if Democrats win the House and Senate, Cortez ceded.
“It’s not just enough for Democrats to talk about what they are running against. You want the president to be talking about what he is running for,” she said. “I think we can certainly do more to be advancing our vision. And I believe we have a strong vision that we can run on. For what it’s worth, the president has said, if you give me the House, and if you give me the Senate and reelect me to the presidency, we will codify abortion rights and the rights to choose in this country. We will codify reproductive rights.
“We can do more,” she continued. “we need to be talking about healthcare. Of course, me as a progressive, I want to see the age of Medicare drop. Whether it’s to 50, as the president has discussed earlier or to zero. This is my preference, to extend Medicare to all people in the United States of America. But I believe we could be doing more. We can talk even more about the fact that public colleges and universities should be tuition-free or reduced. The president has advanced student loan forgiveness just this month for people who have taken out safe loans, under $12,000. They will see their loans wiped out. But I do believe, advancing that affirmative vision is going to be very, very important.”
Cortez said she is “committed” to ensuring those movements “are not stamped out with a Trump presidency.”
“I think my role is in allegiance to people’s movements across this country: in the labor movement that had extraordinary gains last year, whether it was the Teamsters, whether it was UAW’s historic contract, whether it is the bubbling labor fights that we are seeing across the country,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Cortez has accused the Biden administration of backing war crimes by backing Israel’s military operation in Gaza, calling Israel’s military action “genocide.”
Welker asked Cortez whether Bideni is supporting a genocide, “or does that go too far?”
“I think what we are seeing right now throughout the country is that young people are appalled at the violence and the indiscriminate loss of life,” Cortez said, sidestepping a direct question again.
The New York Democrat instead cited the recent decision by the United Nations’ International Court of Justice that Israel has a responsibility to prevent genocide.
“They are still determining whether it’s a genocide. Do you think that term is responsible given it’s still under investigation?” Welker doubled down, noting that President Biden has been dubbed “Genocide Joe” by some pro-Palestinian activists.
“I believe that they are. They’re still determining it. But in the interim ruling, the fact that they said there’s a responsibility to prevent it, the fact that this word is even in play, the fact that this word is even in our discourse, I think, demonstrates the mass inhumanity that Gazans are facing,” Cortez said. “I don’t think that it [using the word] is something to completely toss someone out of our public discourse for using.