On Thursday, there was a brief moment of camaraderie between two prominent yet diametrically opposed politicians. The unity, though, proved fleeting when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) accused Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) of attempting to have her murdered.
In total, the coalition lasted one minute shy of an hour.
The brief reprieve from the division came when Cruz responded to a tweet from Ocasio-Cortez, who had called out the financial investing company Robinhood for its controversial decision “to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stocks as they see fit.”
Cruz quote-tweeted his Democratic colleague in the House of Representatives, noting he agreed “fully” with her criticism.
The Texas senator sent his tweet at 11:47 a.m., and, 59 minutes later, Ocasio-Cortez fired back. But, rather than embrace the senator’s cordial gesture of solidarity, Ocasio-Cortez, a Twitter aficionado in her own right, accused the Republican of “trying to get me killed.”
“I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there’s common ground, but you almost had me murdered [three] weeks ago, so you can sit this one out,” she wrote to Cruz. “Happy to work [with] almost any other GOP that aren’t trying to get me killed. In the meantime, if you want to help, you can resign.”
There is, of course, no evidence to suggest Cruz ever tried to have the self-avowed socialist lawmaker killed.
“While you conveniently talk about ‘moving on,’” Ocasio-Cortez continued, “a second Capitol Police officer lost their life yesterday in the still-raging aftermath of the attacks you had a role in. This isn’t a joke. We need accountability, and that includes a new senator from Texas.”
The New York representative blasted Cruz for failing to apologize for the “serious physical [and] mental harm you contributed to from Capitol Police [and] custodial workers to your own fellow members of Congress.”
She ended her diatribe against Cruz by writing, “In the meantime, you can get off my timeline [and] stop clout-chasing. Thanks. Happy to work with other GOP on this.”
The crux of Ocasio-Cortez’s baseless murder allegation against Cruz is that the Texas lawmaker signed a written objection to certifying Arizona’s Electoral College votes at the beginning of the joint session Jan. 6, when politicians met with then-Vice President Mike Pence to confirm now-President Joe Biden’s victory over former President Donald Trump in the November election.
Following the deadly riot inside the U.S. Capitol that day, Cruz issued a statement (and posted several tweets) strongly condemning the violent insurrection that unfolded. He described the mayhem as “a terrorist attack on the United States Capitol,” condemned the actions taken by the radical pro-Trump rioters as “despicable,” and made clear he believes all those involved in the melee “should be fully prosecuted” and “should spend a long, long time in jail.”
“It was really a sad day for the country to see violence overwhelming the grounds of the Capitol building,” he added.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) rebuked Ocasio-Cortez for her claims against his Senate colleague. Lee said the 31-year-old politician’s words are “neither acceptable nor excusable.” He went on to demand Ocasio-Cortez “immediately and publicly … retract her statement and apologize.”
“I think she should be admonished or censured by the House,” he added. “This is not acceptable. If you disagree with me on this, I would sincerely welcome your feedback. But it violates every instinct in me to sit back and do nothing in response to such an accusation. Especially at a moment like this, we really shouldn’t ignore it.”
In his own statement to reporters, Cruz argued Ocasio-Cortez’s inflammatory claims against him are “not conducive to healing or unity,” two things Biden has claimed are integral to his strategy as president.
Cruz said there is “a lot of partisan anger and rage among Democrats,” adding, “It’s not healthy for our country and it’s certainly not conduce to healing or unity. But everyone has to decide how they want to interact with others.”
Ocasio-Cortez, however, is sticking with her initial allegation against Cruz. She said in a follow-up post he “fueled an insurrection that cost [people’s] lives.”
In fact, she has since used her Twitter spat with Cruz to launch even broader attacks against Republicans as a whole.
During an appearance this week on MSNBC, she told left-leaning host Chris Hayes that the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives is filled with “legitimate white supremacist sympathizers.”
“We really, really need to ask ourselves what they are evolving into,” Ocasio-Cortez said, “because this is no longer about a party of limited government; this is about something much more nefarious.”
It does not appear Ocasio-Cortez has any intention of backing down.