April 23, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Uses Pittsburgh Shooting in GOTV Email

Screenshot from Twitter.

N.Y. Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used Saturday’s shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in a get-out-the-vote email on Wednesday.

The email, which was from the progressive group MoveOn.org and Ocasio-Cortez signed onto it, begins by stating that voters have a chance to “defeat the brutal white supremacist voices of anti-Semitism, anti-immigrant nativism and racism.”

“A Democratic majority will not bring back the eleven Jewish people in Pittsburgh, massacred while they prayed,” the email reads. “Or the two Black people gunned down before a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky. It won’t fully stop the relentless attacks against immigrants in America.”

“But on Sunday evening, Pittsburgh mourners – angry and heart-broken like us – chanted ‘Vote! Vote!’” the email continued. “They understand the magnitude of the midterm election six days from today: that it affords us the chance to forge a powerful bulwark against Donald Trump’s hate and hold accountable the Republicans who have been complicit in every step of his toxic, self-serving, and destructive agenda.”

The email added that the aforementioned grassroots effort is analogous to Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign.

“From the first day of our campaign, I walked and walked and walked. I walked until I wore holes through my shoes and my feet were soaked,” the email states. Hundreds of people from my community joined me, and together we knocked on over 120,000 doors.”

“And then something extraordinary happened: We won. Campaigns like ours aren’t supposed to win. But we did. And we can win again on Tuesday.”

Ocasio-Cortez came under criticism from both sides of the aisle over the email:

Corbin Trent, Ocasio-Cortez’s communications director, told the Journal in a phone interview that they “100 percent stand behind” the email.

“We have a moment in history right now where we, I think, have a choice on the nation we’re going to be, and we can decide what the soul of this nation is and the spirit of this nation,” Trent said, “and too often what we’re seeing is that the Republican Party – and certainly the White House – are dealing in hate and vitriol. They’re trying to divide Americans instead of bring us together, and we’re absolutely committed to ending that, and we think winning in November will go a long way to start that process.”

“So yes, we’re going to bring up some of the terrible tragedies that are occurring and I think some of them are a direct result of the vitriol being spewed from the White House,” Trent added.

Trent also said that while the Pittsburgh shooting was “fresh,” it’s important to view it as well as the recent bomb threats and other tragedies as “learning opportunities and organizing opportunities to start preventing them, then we’re going to be damned to repeat it.”

However, Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal in a phone interview that the email was a “disgrace” because Ocasio-Cortez essentially “buried all of the 11 [shooting victims] before all of them actually came to a Jewish burial in order to erase the uniqueness of anti-Semitism. Because people in that camp don’t want to deal with the implications and consequences of anti-Semitism because a good piece of that is also linked to Israel.”

“It’s a shonda, it’s a disgrace, but no one should be surprised that they would rush to bury the Jewish victims, the Jewish aspects of it before they even came to a proper burial,” Cooper said.