Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-N.Y., is facing criticism from both Republicans and Democrats after claiming that the uptick in crime following the death of George Floyd is the direct result of poverty.
Ocasio-Cortez claimed during a virtual town hall this week that New Yorkers are committing more crime because “people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent,” she claimed.
“So they go out and they need to feed their child, but they don’t have money,” she continued. “So they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry.”
As many online users pointed out, the looting, violence, and destruction taking place in New York City had nothing to do with “poverty” or starvation.
Even Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo disputed Ocasio-Cortez’s theory, calling it “factually impossible.”
“It is factually impossible that somebody committed a crime so they could pay their rent,” Cuomo said on Tuesday, noting that the recent crime uptick is dominated by shootings and other violent offenses. “If you can’t pay your rent, you cannot be evicted right now.”
The conservative New York Post also blasted Ocasio-Cortez and her “dishonest, callous, and naive” comments in an editorial this week.
“AOC imagines that we’ll magically erase crime with an army of social workers and more money for schools, even though we spend more for education and welfare than almost anywhere in the nation,” the Post wrote.
“She lives in a ‘Les Misérables’ fantasy, where a department of Inspector Javerts hound men for stealing bread,” said the article. “We don’t know what world this is, but it certainly isn’t New York City.”
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany similarly denounced Ocasio–Cortez for trying to make economic conditions the culprit for violent crime instead of holding criminals accountable.
“And this weekend, when faced with 28 shootings in New York, a 600% increase from this time last year, you have Rep. Ocasio-Cortez saying this is just because people are trying to get food with their families,” McEnany said. “That is preposterous.”
Ocasio-Cortez, however, defended her comments and doubled down.