Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (a Democrat from New York) on Tuesday delivered an impassioned defense of the Green New Deal, the ambitious Democratic proposal aimed at fighting climate change, after a Republican member of Congress attacked the resolution as an elitist plan he claimed had been created by out-of-touch “rich liberals from New York or California.”
“I think we should not focus on the rich, wealthy elites who will look at this and go ‘I love it, cause I’ve got big money in the bank. Everyone should do this!’” Representative Sean Duffy (a Republican from Wisconsin) said.
“It’s kind of like saying ‘I’ll sign onto the Green New Deal but I’ll take a private jet from D.C. to California — a private jet — or I’ll take my Uber SUV, I won’t take the train, or I’ll go to Davos and fly my private jet,’” he continued. “The hypocrisy!”
Ocasio-Cortez swiftly rejected the characterization. She also denounced the overall Republican strategy to portray climate change concerns as an issue of privilege.
“This is not an elitist issue, this is a quality of life issue,” Ocasio-Cortez responded, her voice rising in exasperation. “You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist? Tell that to the kids in the south Bronx which are suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country. Tell that to the families in Flint.”
The fiery exchange came as the Senate blocked a measure to advance the Green New Deal. Republicans, who have so far offered no plans to combat climate change, repeatedly mocked the Democratic plan as unserious and “socialist” during Tuesday’s debate. Senator Mike Lee (a Republican from Utah) made a splash of his own by relying on various charts that included images of babies, Ronald Reagan, and cartoon sea creatures for his criticism.