Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s partner, Riley Roberts, is giving the people what they want. The oft-camera-shy web developer has made the occasional cameo on Ocasio-Cortez’s social media and in her wide-ranging interviews (she described him as an “easygoing redhead” in a November 2018 Vogue profile), but fans of the New York congresswoman actually got a good glimpse of him in Netflix’s newly released documentary, Knock Down the House.
And the reactions have been predictably varied, ranging from complimentary (Roberts is portrayed as a super supportive, encouraging partner) to downright mean (Twitter had a field day over Roberts’ looks, with a particularly rabid viewer even calling the poor man a “bin racoon”).
It was to these latter reactions that Ocasio-Cortez and Roberts responded, taking time out of their undoubtedly busy lives to show Netflix bingers just what a dapper, handsome partner he is.
“The Internet roasted Riley into getting a haircut/glowup after #KnockDownTheHouse,” Ocasio-Cortez captioned a hilarious clip of Roberts beaming with his new, chic look. A clearly embarrassed Roberts flashes his trademark wide grin and tells Ocasio-Cortez, who is filming, to “stop, stop” after she asks him to turn his head and show off his profile.
In the clip, which Ocasio-Cortez shared via her Instagram stories, Roberts’ hair is notably trimmed shorter, and his beard has been clearly clipped as well, to a more tamed state. (A friend off-camera can be heard jokingly teasing Roberts in the clip: “Aww, look at my little bin raccoon!”)
Ocasio-Cortez has famously kept her private life out of the spotlight for likely exactly this reason, though critics have tried to undermine her right to privacy time and time again ever since she rose to prominence in the 2018 midterm elections.
In February, conservative podcast host Luke Thompson accused Ocasio-Cortez of putting Roberts on her payroll, sharing a screenshot from an unknown source that showed Roberts with an official House email address. “While you were having a nice Valentine’s Day, @AOC decided to put her boyfriend on staff - drawing a salary on the taxpayer’s dime,” he tweeted at the time. “Nice to see her adapting to the swamp so quickly.”
Ocasio-Cortez quickly shut Thompson and his unfounded rumor down, however, pointing out that all “Congressional spouses get Gcal access.”
“Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense,” she fired back. Sounds like an apt response to the haters throwing shade at Roberts, too, no?