AOC clashes with challenger during debate: ‘Leave my mom out of this’

In addition to mentioning AOC's mother, opponent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera said she sided with Trump on taxes, and chose to live lavishly in DC during the pandemic

The virtual primary debate between Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her challenger, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera got heated.

AOC Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) addresses supporters during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on March 8, 2020 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Brittany Greeson/Getty Images)

The virtual primary debate for the House Democratic seat in New York’s 14th congressional district took place on Monday, May 18.

Dialogue between Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her challenger, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera got heated, when personal insults were traded. 

READ MORE: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez concedes ‘tough night’ for Bernie Sanders

When asked about the “Green New Deal,” Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC anchor went on the attack, saying that AOC (who helped ink the legislation) works to “divide the party … while she is MIA.” She then accused AOC of staying in her luxury apartment building in Washington, DC during the coronavirus pandemic.

“At the height of the crisis, she stayed in her luxury apartment in DC with the Whole Foods in the lobby, so she didn’t have to worry about where she was going to get her food like the rest of us,” Caruso-Cabrera said in disgust.

The moderator allowed AOC to speak, but she did not take the bait.

Eventually, after catching dart-after-dart from Caruso-Cabrera, the Congresswoman was allowed to respond and fired back her own tidbit on her opponent.

“While it is disappointing to see Ms. Caruso-Cabrera fixated on personal attacks and for some strange reason obsessed with the six days in March that I wasn’t feeling well and had to stay in my apartment,” AOC remarked, “I do think its quite funny that she goes on and on about the fact I spend time doing my job in Washington and coming home to the Bronx when she lived in a $15,000 a month  Trump Tower apartment until six months ago.”

“This woman probably couldn’t find Sunnyside on a map before she decided to challenge me,” She quipped. “She doesn’t care about the Bronx, she doesn’t care about Queens. She cares about running.”

“No one has ever seen this person before,” AOC stated before asking, “Who are you?”

The debate was hot and the moderator tried to temper the energy by asking a question about immigration. Caruso-Cabrera, who seems to have adopted the catchphrase “AOC is MIA,” went on to say that the Congresswoman claims that she has family in the district, but her mother actually lives in Florida because the taxes are too high in New York … adding that AOC voted with the Trump administration to raise taxes.

Ocasio-Cortez bristled at the comment telling Caruso-Cabrera that it was a “cheap shot.” 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“You can come after me all you want. Leave my mom out of it. My mom is a widow,” AOC said, “My mother is a school secretary who makes an hourly wage that’s laid off right now. You don’t know her. You don’t know what she’s been through. So please leave my mother out of this. It’s really wrong.”

Throughout the debate, it was clear that the energy between the two women was high. It was also that Caruso-Cabrera was leading the attacks.

Among other things, Caruso-Cabrera criticized Ocasio-Cortez for opposing the $3 billion deal to build a new Amazon headquarters in Queens. Caruso-Cabrera said, “We have to have an attitudinal shift toward jobs. We can’t tell job creators, ‘Go away, we don’t want your 25,000 jobs,’ she said, “I’m never going to do that.” 

READ MORE: AOC to co-chair Biden-Sanders climate task force

The two were joined in the debate by fellow challengers Badrun Khan, president of the Jalalabad Association, and chess player Sam Sloan, a perennial candidate. AOC and Caruso-Cabrera are considered the two leading candidates. 

Amid concerns of the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Democratic presidential primary and state and federal primary elections were reinstated and scheduled for June 23 by court order

The entire debate was presented by BronxNet, a local cable news network, and is available on YouTube.