Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced Sunday night that her emergency fundraising campaign for Texans struggling in the aftermath of last week's deadly Winter Storm Uri "just hit $5 million."
"AOC is better at being a Texas senator than Ted Cruz is," political commentator David Pakman quipped in a Monday morning tweet.
Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent progressive who represents New York's 14th Congressional District, used her high-profile social media presence to begin raising money last Thursday. She said the proceeds would be split between local organizations providing direct relief to Texans, including The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, Ending Community Homeless Coalition (ECHO), Family Eldercare, Houston Food Bank, and Feeding Texas.
Ted Cruz, one of the Lone Star State's two Republican senators, meanwhile, faced a backlash for fleeing to a luxury resort in the warm weather of Cancún, Mexico as his constituents suffered and froze—some of them to death.
Cruz rushed back home in an attempt to save face, but AOC's one million dollars in relief funds quickly turned into two, three, and then four million. By Sunday night, Ocasio-Cortez said her fundraising effort had hit the $5 million mark.
Thanking donors and volunteers for their "collective action when people need it most," Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged that "charity can't replace policy."
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"But," she added, "solidarity is how we'll face climate change and build a better world."
One last update (I think!): We just hit $5 million raised for Texans across the state.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 22, 2021
Thank you ALL for your collective action when people need it most.
Charity can’t replace policy, but solidarity is how we’ll face climate change and build a better world.
Thank you pic.twitter.com/RzdgXllXoS
Not only did Ocasio-Cortez help raise millions of dollars to assist Texans grappling with thirst, hunger, and exorbitant electricity bills following last week's deadly winter storm, she also traveled to Houston over the weekend to help Democratic Texas Reps. Sylvia Garcia and Sheila Jackson Lee distribute aid to hard-hit households in the country's fourth-biggest city.
Cruz, for his part, criticized utility companies for profiteering in the wake of the disaster but neglected to mention how the crisis stems from Texas' free-market fundamentalist and fossil fuel-based energy system that he has promoted. Although Cruz in 2012 opposed sending federal relief to New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, The Guardian reported Sunday that Texas Republicans plan to use federal funds to assist the state's residents with skyrocketing power bills and home repair costs.
The embattled GOP lawmaker also sliced brisket and loaded bottled water into cars in a reputation-mending photo op, but several commentators pointed out that, according to the CDC's guidelines, Cruz should be in quarantine for at least seven days following his short-lived international trip.
"This man should be in his house right now," wrote journalist Claire Lampen on Sunday. "He definitely should not be helping to prepare and serve food to large teams of first responders, considering that the state's crisis is ongoing."