The twitterstorm came after Ocasio-Cortez made her statements to The Intercept’s Briahna Gray on Saturday at the South by Southwest Conference & Festivals in Austin, Texas.
“A perfect example of how special interests and the powerful have pitted white working class Americans against brown and black working-class Americans is Reaganism in the ’80s when he started talking about welfare queens,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“So you think about this image of welfare queens and what he was really trying to talk about was … this like really resentful vision of essentially black women who were doing nothing, that were ‘sucks’ on our country. That’s not explicit racism but still rooted in a racist caricature,” she added.
Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) suggests former President Ronald Reagan was a racist and claims he "pitted white working-class Americans against brown and black working-class Americans to screw over all working-class Americans" pic.twitter.com/oxM2QPRgrB— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) 9 марта 2019 г.
Her words were met with an immediate reaction from conservatives and supporters of the Republican Party, who countered the claims of the young Democrat – sometimes, as in the case of actor James Woods, with the 40th US President’s own words.
Reagan: “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so… pic.twitter.com/O2nJ7QsYfT— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) 10 марта 2019 г.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham noted that Ocasio-Cortez “wasn’t alive when Reagan was elected in a landslide and re-elected in a bigger landslide, sarcastically calling her “brilliant.”
Other prominent conservative figures also reacted to the comments made by the freshman democratic socialist.
.@AOC cheers for socialism while wearing $1000 suits and eating at 5 star restaurants. All provided to her by the benefits of Capitalism.— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) 10 марта 2019 г.
She wants you to suffer under high taxes and oppression while she thrives as a privileged congresswoman. #fixit
I first voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 — he unified all workers for their economic advantage and success — the Blue Dog democrats supported him and he was relected in a landslide 1984 — apparently @AOC believes that Orwell's "1984" is a "how to" manual to rewrite history https://t.co/BjkyTkCQMf— Tony Shaffer (@T_S_P_O_O_K_Y) 10 марта 2019 г.
Watch @AOC accuse President Ronald Reagan of utilizing racism to "screw over all working-class Americans." (Oh, so THAT explains how Reagan carried 49 states in '84. Black unemployment fell faster than did white unemployment. Black businesses grew faster than white owned ones.) https://t.co/riEfomYr2e— Larry Elder (@larryelder) 10 марта 2019 г.
I guess when your historical knowledge only dates back 2018 it’s hard to remember things like Reagan amnesty. https://t.co/um31ac0fmJ— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) 10 марта 2019 г.
AOC says Reagan was a racist. WTH is her definition of racist?— James Hirsen (@thejimjams) 10 марта 2019 г.
Ronald Reagan faced several accusations of racism during his presidency, as he opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibiting racial discrimination in voting, which was signed into law by President Johnson. However, during his presidency, he also signed several acts that helped to structure the life of immigrants and minorities within the country, including the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, also known as the Reagan Amnesty.