Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez still won’t say if she plans to launch a bid against Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer when he runs for reelection as New York senator in 2022 – claiming she is ‘indecisive’ and still trying to figure out her role within the Democratic Party and Washington politics.
‘I’m a no bulls**t kind of person,’ Ocasio-Cortez told Punchbowl News in a Q&A published Monday morning.
‘I’m not playing coy or anything like that,’ she said in reference to dodging questions on potentially primarying Schumer, a three-term senator who served as a U.S. representative from New York for 18 years before that.
‘I’m still very much in a place where I’m trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress, our [political] process, and our country actually address the issues of climate change, health care, wage inequality, etc.,’ AOC continued.
She said she is less concerned with focusing on moves within the party, whether that be to another chamber or to a leadership position.
‘For me, the positional stuff, these are just tactical decisions,’ she explained. ‘Those choices have a lot more to do with ‘the board’, not just one person. Not just me as an individual.’
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she is ‘indecisive’ and still ‘trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress’ when asked if she would run a primary race against Senator Chuck Schumer in 2022
She refused to say if she would try to primary Schumer, who would be running for his fifth term as a senator from New York
After becoming one of the most influential figures in the House of Representatives after serving just two years, there is constant speculation that AOC, which she was lovingly dubbed by her following, has higher ambitions in Washington.
The 31-year-old representative was just easily reelected November 3 for her second term in the House for New York’s 14th congressional district, which emcompasses parts of Queens and The Bronx in New York City.
On Sunday, Ocasio-Cortez voted to reelect California Representative Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker for another term despite claiming before the vote that the Democratic Party needs new, more progressive leadership.
Her far-left ‘squad,’ which includes Representatives Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and newly sworn in lawmakers Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman, also voted for Pelosi for her fourth term as speaker.
‘Do you think Schumer’s doing a good job?’ Punchbowl News asked Ocasio-Cortez. ‘And do you give yourself a time limit to make a decision on challenging him?’
‘It’s a hard thing to say,’ the representative responded. ‘We’ve had to deal with a fascist president and Mitch McConnell. There’s this thing, ‘Are we doing a good job?’ There are things you can do in the minority. There are also things you couldn’t do with this minority because Senate rules changed.’
‘I like to think of myself as a good-faith actor and not make unfair critiques,’ she continued. ‘But I do wonder – on the one hand, we pushed it to the limit rules-wise, on other things, you look back and there are things that are hard.’
‘I’ve worked with the senator,’ Ocasio-Cortez said of her relationship within Schumer. ‘He and I have an open relationship, we speak to each other regularly.’
Ocasio-Cortez is the presumed leader of the so-called ‘squad’ of young, progressive House members – which grew by two with swearing in on Sunday. Pictured from L to R: Democratic Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Jamaal Bowman (new member), AOC, Cori Bush (new member) and Ayanna Pressley
She also said she wasn’t sure if Democrats losing the House would impact her decision on whether to run a primary race against Schumer.
‘For me, I don’t make these decisions based on these short-term factors,’ AOC said. ‘Also, I came in as a young member. I think how am I going to dedicate my life to change. So, two years, who cares about two years?’
She added: ‘If I want to have a child, I would want my child – or my nieces or nephews – to have guaranteed health care by the time they’re my age. And freedom from want. I’m also very indecisive.’
Ocasio-Cortez was recently denied a seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which she was seeking.
Those in Schumer’s inner circle are concerned AOC could launch a bid and take out the 70-year-old senator in a primary race. Schumer thinks she would run instead for governor or lieutenant governor – no doubt wishful thinking from the New York senator.