When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) decided how to vote on Congressional funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, she must have known that she was facing difficult feedback. She initially voted against the funding, later changing her final vote to “present.”
When progressives lashed out at AOC’s failure to follow the lead of the most anti-Israel progressives in Congress, she offered a lengthy explanation on Friday of her reasoning, such as it was.
She said she wants to be transparent with “our community” that is opposed to the bill despite her “present” vote. She said that House leadership made a “reckless” decision to “rush” the vote and thereby created a “tinderbox of vitriol” and “deeply racist” accusations. She said there was a “lack of substantive discussion” about the funding as a result.
She added that the “careless process” caused damage and “spillover effects” in her community. Her lengthy statement also said that the vote caused a “real sense of panic and horror” that led to a “severe devolution to the good-faith community fabric” that supports a “struggle” for human rights and dignity.
AOC said she asked Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) to delay the funding vote, but he refused. She also admitted that her vote caused her to weep.
Although she apologized to those she “disappointed” and said that she understands there are some who believe her “reasoning is insufficient or cowardice,” she did not provide an actual explanation of why she changed her “no” vote on the funding decision.
One progressive said of AOC’s explanation that they felt like they were “taking crazy pills.” Another critic responded by saying AOC’s statement “doesn’t explain in the slightest” why she changed her vote.
A fellow member of the progressive “squad” with AOC, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), spoke aggressively against the funding bill. She called the Israeli government an “apartheid regime.”
The funding measure passed the House with a vote of 420-9, despite AOC’s claim that the vote was “controversial.”