Joe Manchin upped his public feud with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday by claiming she is more active on Twitter than she is with her congresswoman duties as a member of the House of Representatives.
‘I’m understanding she’s not that active with her bills or in committee,’ the West Virginia Democratic senator told The New York Times of Ocasio-Cortez. ‘She’s more active on Twitter than anything else.’
Manchin, however, admitted: ‘I don’t know the young lady — I really don’t. I never met her.’
The comments from the senator known for his more bipartisan approach comes after he lashed out at more progressive Democrats for supporting the defund police movement, which some blame for the Party losing seats in the House on November 3.
‘I guess she put the dagger stare on me,’ Manchin said Monday when asked about Ocasio-Cortez tweeting a picture of her glaring at him after he mocked the ‘crazy socialist agenda’ promoting the defunding of law enforcement.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin fueled the fire of his public feud with his colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, claiming she is ‘more active on Twitter’ than ‘with her bills or in committee’
The criticism of AOC’s work ethic came after the New York progressive tweeted an image from last year’s State of the Union where she is starring daggers at the back of Manchin’s head – it was posted in response to Manchin mocking the defund police movement and ‘crazy socialist agenda’
In a tweet the week after the election, where AOC was easily reelected but several other incumbent Democrats lost to Republicans, Manchin criticized defund the police, saying ‘defund my butt’
Writing on Twitter earlier in November, Manchin said: ‘Defund the police? Defund, my butt. I’m a proud West Virginia Democrat. We are the party of working men and women.’
‘We want to protect Americans’ jobs & healthcare. We do not have some crazy socialist agenda, and we do not believe in defunding the police,’ he continued in the tweet, where he also linked an interview with the Washington Examiner where he shared the anti-defund police sentiment.
In response to Manchin’s tweet, Ocasio-Cortez, popularly referred to as AOC, shared a picture of herself furiously staring at the back of his head during last year’s State of the Union address, where women from the Democratic Party famously wore all-white.
The vocal representative, who has quickly risen to status as a progressive icon with her no nonsense attitude, has not yet responded to Manchin’s most recent attack, where he took aim at her work ethic, on Twitter or otherwise.
On November 12, AOC defended her support for the ‘defund the police’ movement after Democratic losses in the House during a virtual town hall meeting.
Party leaders have complained that issues AOC closely aligned herself with – such as defunding the police and socialism – were weaponized by Republicans in this year’s election season and contributed to Democrat losses.
Democrats were blind-sided in early November by losing several incumbencies and many blue districts flipping red when they expected to sweep the House elections and increase their majority in the lower chamber.
In one example, Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis ousted first-term Democratic Rep. Max Rose in the Staten Island congressional race in the same state as New York’s 14th congressional district, which AOC represents.
The congresswoman, who was easily reelected to a second term last week in her deep blue district, defended her position during the virtual town hall event on Thursday where a 14-year-old student asked her to define the meaning of ‘defund the police.’
While she acknowledged that some critics – including some in her own party – were ‘apoplectic’ over the idea, she complained that too much funding is pumped into the NYPD to the detriment of other preventative safety measures.
The original picture: Democratic women of the U.S. House of Representatives, including AOC (center), remain in their seats as Manchin stands and applauds in front of them as Donald Trump delivers his second State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on February 5, 2019
‘I believe the path toward justice is a long arc. Safety is not just an officer with a badge and a gun,’ AOC said. ‘Our [police budget] is too high,’ she added, citing a $6 billion figure for New York’s department.
Unchecked spending on the NYPC ‘becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy’, she said according to the New York Post, and crowds out spending on other societal needs such as housing, health care, mental health services and school counsellors.
‘It’s about a budget shift,’ Ocasio-Cortez said.
She also said that many of her constituents have complained to her that ‘too many people’ are killed by ‘police violence’, with widespread protests being sparked by the killing of George Floyd – a black man – on May 25 in Minneapolis.
‘It’s my job to listen. We need to invest in those other types of safety,’ AOC said. ‘We need to stop being so reactionary,’ she said.
The congresswoman has come under fire over Democratic losses in the House of Representatives last week, but again defended her controversial progressive positions and sometimes being a thorn in the side of her own party’s establishment.
‘I feel very centered and at peace. This is what you brought me to Congress to do,’ AOC said, adding that she doesn’t just criticize Republicans but sets out to hold ‘all institutions accountable and that includes the Democratic party.’
She went on to say that she would also hold president-elect Joe Biden accountable, and that she intends to follow through with the Green New Deal plan.
AOC served on Biden’s Climate Change Task Force that drew up the final bill.
She also hit back at Democrats who have suggested that she doesn’t have anything to offer to party to help it win races in swing states because she’s in a safe, Democrat voting district, noting that when she first ran the 14th congressional district was seen as ‘highly moderate’ and even ‘conservative’.
The ‘defund police’ movement garnered traction over the summer as relations between the black community and law enforcement heightened following a string of police-related deaths. Pictured: A demonstrator in New York holding a sign that reads ‘Defund the police’ in June
Some Democrats are crediting the ‘defund police’ movement and jargon like ‘Democratic socialist’ for costing them seats in the House when they expected to increase their majority in the November 3 elections
‘I’m not representing a hippie, granola college town,’ AOC told the meeting, but rather that she represents a highly diverse, working class community and a ‘community of organizers’.
Ocasio-Cortez said that it was too early after the election to determine why Democrats fared so poorly in House races in swing states last week without seeing more data.
She did note that the party could be ‘much better in our messaging’ and that ‘we have a lot of room for growth there’, adding that she was ‘encouraged’ that other candidates had sought her advice on how to campaign better.
‘There’s a shift going on,’ the congresswoman said.
The ‘defund police’ movement garnered traction over the summer as relations between the black community and law enforcement heightened following a string of police-related deaths – starting with George Floyd.
Progressive protesters, and lawmakers, began calling for a complete defunding of police departments, labeling the system as systematically racist and ‘broken.’
The movement gained particular traction following the death of George Floyd on May 25, a 46-year-old black man, who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer – Derek Chauvin – knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
Floyd’s death was captured in a video shared widely online sparking outrage across the U.S., galvanizing the Black Lives Matter movement which saw protests in a number of cities, some of which turned violent.
The now-infamous incident also led to calls to defund police departments, and redirect funds to more community-focused programs.
Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, while the three other officers who were present at Floyd’s arrest and death have been charged with aiding and abetting.