Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Town hall in Corona went viral on Thursday night after an alleged troll claiming to be a supporter stole the microphone to say that humanity should eat babies and bomb Russia to address the climate crisis.
In the Twitter aftermath, a far-right group took credit for planting the unnamed woman as a prank.
Despite the way the clip grabbed the attention of national media and President Donald Trump, it was a sideshow to a town hall that was ostensibly organized as an opportunity for the Ocasio-Cortez to talk with constituents about the Just Society Act, an anti-poverty legislative suite that she unveiled this week.
“If we continue to say that the U.S. is a leader in the world, we need to be a leader in the human condition, we need to be a leader in human rights, we need to be a leader in equality and equity, and we need to be a leader in really creating a robust economically and socially just society,” said Ocasio-Cortez.
The alleged troll wasn’t the only the only one to bring up climate change, however. In fact, the Green New Deal emerged as one of the more consistent themes constituents raised, which next to impeachment proceedings, consisted mostly of a collection of pet concerns.
Ocasio-Cortez began the town hall by walking through her new legislative suite. The five-bill, one-resolution bundle involves a series of reforms to federal housing policy, policy dictating immigrant’s right to federal welfare programs, the calculation of the federal poverty line, U.S. participation in the UN covenant of cultural rights, and labor law for government workers.
After Ocasio-Cortez finished her presentation, one of the first speakers to take the microphone asked whether the congresswoman would be open to using nuclear power as a part of the Green New Deal. She said that she leaves nuclear as one possible part of the mix of the energy technologies that the legislation puts forth.
Shortly thereafter, a constituent pitched Ocasio-Cortez an idea for a monorail line circling around Queens, displaying drawings that he had sketched based on the Yamanote commuter rail in Japan.
Ocasio-Cortez responded with enthusiasm.
“This was the whole point of us proposing the Green New Deal legislation was to challenge us to think what we can do as a society with public funds and public infrastructure,” she said. “Someone might look at this and say you’re crazy, but you’re not crazy for thinking that we can be better.”
In her responses, Ocasio-Cortez maintained the candor and cultural references she’s become notorious for. At one point she called a James Baldwin quote “epic.” When asked about the tension between her and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she compared it to a family feud, asking “Where’s the beef?”
While the constituents generally laughed along with her and came off as like-minded supporters, the “baby eating” comment was not the only tense moment that challenged Ocasio-Cortez.
Midway through the meeting, a woman interrupted another resident with the microphone to declare that there was no quid-pro-quo in President Trump’s dealing with the Ukrainian prime minister and assert that the impeachment hearings need to be stopped.
Instead of arguing, Ocasio-Cortez deferred to her constituents.
“I invite everyone to look into it. We can all come to our conclusions. As the congresswoman from this district, I have heard loud and clear from my constituents where they stand on the issue,” she said.