Thursday night's final presidential debate couldn’t have ended without a coveted shoutout to the “radical left” from President Donald Trump. More specifically, Trump called out his favorite democratic socialist: New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In the last few minutes of the debate, the conversation turned to climate change, giving Trump a prime opportunity to bag on the Green New Deal, which Ocasio-Cortez introduced to Congress in early 2019. "They know nothing about the climate. I mean she's got a good line of stuff but she knows nothing about the climate, and they're all hopping through hoops for AOC plus three. Not a real plan, it costs $100 trillion,” Trump said of Ocasio-Cortez and her Democratic colleagues Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, who are collectively referred to as “the squad.”
Immediately, Ocasio-Cortez hit back on Twitter, saying, “It’s actually AOC plus 115 because that’s how many House and Senate members have cosponsored the most ambitious climate legislation in American history.” But after more thought, Ocasio-Cortez came back with more choice words for the president.
Early Friday morning, the progressive politician took to Twitter to call Trump out for refusing to refer to her as congresswoman, or by her full name. Bringing attention to the way he referred to her as AOC during the debate, she said it was a sign of Trump’s disrespect for women. “I wonder if Republicans understand how much they advertise their disrespect of women in debates when they consistently call women members of Congress by nicknames or first names while using titles & last names when referring to men of = stature. Women notice. It conveys a lot,” she tweeted.
Then, she followed up, adding that, “AOC is a name given to me by community & the people. Y’all can call me AOC. Government colleagues referring to each other in a public or professional context (aka who don’t know me like that) should refer to their peers as ‘Congresswoman, ‘Representative,’ etc. Basic respect 101.”
Since her initial campaign against Joe Crowley in 2018, the congresswoman has become fondly known as AOC — a popular shorthand often used by her supporters, similar to how people referred to Ruth Bader Ginsburg as RBG. Ultimately, the nickname makes the relationship between constituents and the politician a little more intimate, and acknowledges a kinship as well as her mutual responsibility to the people she serves. But while the nickname shows reverence from some, it’s clear that’s not the intention behind Trump’s use of it.
Instead, Trump — along with other Republicans — only refers to Ocasio-Cortez as AOC as a way of belittling her and not holding her to the same standard of other politicians in office.
But this is not the first time that Ocasio-Cortez has had to call out men in the government for disrespecting her — and it likely won’t be the last. She also chided Vice President Pence for using the same nickname during the vice presidential debate earlier this month. And, in early 2019, she dealt with Republicans mocking her high school nickname “Sandy.”
Obviously, given all the recent name drops, Ocasio-Cortez may have to keep checking politicians like Trump and asking for them to put some respect on her name. But at the end of the day, it means she's out in the world making real change. And she'll keep living rent free in their heads because they fear how powerful she is.