Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continued to shoot back at those who draw attention to—and criticize—the amount in her savings account by calling for coverage instead of far more worthy issues—the nation's pervasive low-wage jobs and President Donald Trump's "public theft"—and accusing some sitting congresspeople of lashing out at her because they are blinded by privilege, and thus unable to represent their constituents.
The latest push-back follows a CNBC report in which Corbin Trent, Ocasio-Cortez's director of communications, said the newly-elected progressive Democrat had "well below $7,000" in her savings account. The news report also included comments from financial experts who said someone of her age should have between $8,750 and $30,000 in savings and at least $27,000 tucked away for retirement—amounts some derided as "unrealistic" for millennials given burdensome student loan debt, low wages, and high housing prices.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted late Tuesday night:
Here’s something actually worth airtime talking about:— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 21, 2018
Half of the jobs in America pay less than $18/hour. https://t.co/rBjNRQ9f52
While we‘re discussing personal finances: Trump’s tax dodges represent millions of dollars taken from schoolchildren, teachers, firehouses, senior centers & more.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 20, 2018
Strange that my normal, working class checking account attracts more attn than public theft.https://t.co/SH4Jfo5zna
In another tweet, Ocasio-Cortez pointed to what she sees as the real "fear" motivating the intense look at her bank account and what her wardrobe costs:
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The actual fear driving the attacks on my clothes, my checking account, my rent, isn’t that these folks are scared that I shouldn’t represent people in Congress.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 20, 2018
It’s fear that they’ve allowed their riches, their privilege, + their bias to put them to a point where they can’t.
According reporter Leah Fessler, critics' continued attention on Ocasio-Cortez's finances is a backfire. What they "still don't understand," she writes at Quartz, "is that their focus on how she doesn't meet their expectations only amplifies her power—and deepens her connection to the young, ambitious, working- and middle-class Americans who see her as their representative on the national stage."
Some of those Americans took to Twitter to make that connection clear:
Grew up on food stamps. Moved around (a lot). Worked since 16. Lost our home after Iraq deployment—paid for my mom to get an apartment. First to graduate college in my family. Used my #GIBill to earn my AA, BA, & MA. And I also wear a lot of black. Sure can relate to @Ocasio2018 https://t.co/H4xXnJF2dj— Kate Hoit (@KateHoit) November 20, 2018
I will never forget that one of the first recurring donations to my campaign was $1/month from a dishwasher in New Jersey.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 19, 2018
Working people have always been the core of this movement, and that is why we fight so fiercely on the issues.
Thank you for empowering me do so. https://t.co/ZghbMrgByb