Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) argued Wednesday that many Americans should protest economic insecurity by refusing to work after coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted.
“When we talk about this idea of reopening society, you know, only in America does the president — when the president tweets about liberation — does he mean go back to work. When we have this discussion about going back or reopening, I think a lot people should just say ‘no’ — we’re not going back to that,” she said.
“We’re not going back to working 70-hour weeks just so that we could put food on the table and not even feel any sort of semblance of security in our lives.”
Her comments came during an interview with Vice TV host Anand Giridharadas, who famously speculated that President Trump’s sexual insecurity was “literally threatening to annihilate the planet.”
The interview with Ocasio-Cortez is set to air Wednesday night.
The freshman congresswoman has received plenty of attention for her response to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, she posted an apparently celebratory tweet in response to oil prices collapsing.
“You absolutely love to see it,” she said in the since-deleted tweet. She later tweeted: “This snapshot is being acknowledged as a turning point in the climate movement. Fossil fuels are in long-term structural decline. This along w/ low interest rates means it‘s the right time to create millions of jobs transitioning to renewable and clean energy. A key opportunity.”
As the country grapples with massive job losses induced by the restrictions, rallies have taken place in several major states with some attendees wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and waving Trump flags.
Public health experts have warned that an easing of the shutdowns must be accompanied by wider testing and tracing of infected people to keep the virus from coming back with a vengeance. President Trump has maintained, however, that the solution to the coronavirus could be worse than the problem itself.
On Friday, Trump urged three state governments to “liberate” their people from restrictions that have impacted economic activity.
While it’s unclear what the full economic impact will be, at least 22 million people — more than 13 percent of the workforce — have filed unemployment claims in recent weeks. Ocasio-Cortez and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have pushed for relief beyond what Congress initially proposed.
Ocasio-Cortez went off on a rant Tuesday in which she told economic shutdown protesters they were petitioning the wrong government officials, and should tell President Trump to “make some damn tests” for the coronavirus.
“If you want your freedom, if you want to end the shutdown, then tell your president to make some damn tests and to support some state governments,” the freshman congresswoman said during an Instagram Live session.
“This is outrageous,” she added. “So, if you want to make sure that we reopen the economy, why don’t you turn around, march on over to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and protest this president who’s not supporting our governors and making sure that we get the tests, the medical equipment, the hospital funding, and the state and local funding, so that we can all get on with our lives.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.