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Conservatives Flip Out Over Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez Essentially Calling Ronald Reagan Racist

New York Congresswoman and Democratic firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez really got under conservatives’ skin with a brief rant at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festival that they say painted former President Ronald Reagan as a “racist.”

AOC was interviewed Saturday at the festival by The Intercept Senior Politics Editor Briahna Gray, and discussed Reagan’s political exploitation of race, without explicitly calling him a racist.

“One perfect example, I think a perfect example of how special interests and the powerful have pitted white working-class Americans against brown and black working-class Americans in order to just screw over all working class Americans,” Ocasio-Cortez said, “is Reaganism in the eighties, when he started talking about Welfare Queens.”

She said that Reagan presented a “resentful vision of essentially black women who were doing nothing, that were sucks on our country,” and that Reagan gave people who were “already subconsciously trained to resent” black women “a different reason that’s not explicit racism, but still rooted in a racist caricature, it gives people a logical, a
quote ‘logical’ reason to say ‘oh yeah, I know, toss out the whole social safety net.”

Reagan began citing the story of  Linda Taylor, the specific example AOC references, as early as 1976, and throughout his presidential primary campaign that year.

Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks generated significant outrage from many prominent conservatives. DailyWire’s Ryan Saavedra tweeted the clip with a message that said AOC was suggesting Reagan was a “racist”:

Fox News host Laura Ingraham retweeted Saavedra, and suggested that Ocasio-Cortez was too young to understand, and wrong because Reagan was elected and re-elected in a “landslide”:

Conservative commentator Larry Elder made a similar argument:

Reagan got nine percent of the black vote in 1984, down from 14 percent in 1980.

Other conservatives were equally displeased:


Reagan did oppose making Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a federal holiday until the day he signed the veto-proof law, but said it was for a variety of other reasons that weren’t racism. And while Reagan did veto a bill sanctioning South Africa over its racist apartheid government, he said it was because not doing sanctions would work better.

Watch the clip above, from SXSW.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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