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Ocasio-Cortez Apologizes For Blocking Twitter User Who Criticized Her Concentration Camp Comments

Chris White on November 5, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez apologized to a Twitter user Monday who criticized the Democratic lawmaker’s tweets comparing immigration detention centers at the southern border to concentration camps.

Ocasio-Cortez’s apology was designed to settle a lawsuit Dov Hikind, a former New York Democratic state assemblyman, brought in July against her for making the comparison. She was due to testify in a federal court Tuesday to defend her supposed right to block people on Twitter.

“I have reconsidered my decision to block Dov Hikind from my Twitter account,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported. “Mr. Hikind has a First Amendment right to express his views and should not be blocked for them.”

She added: “In retrospect, it was wrong and improper and does not reflect the values I cherish. I sincerely apologize for blocking Mr. Hikind.”

“We’re very happy with this development,” Jacob Weinstein, an attorney for Hikind, told reporters. “The First Amendment cannot be trampled on,” he said, noting that the lawmaker unblocked Hikind. Ocasio-Cortez has amassed an immense following her win in 2018.

Ocasio-Cortez’s decision came after Twitter announced in October that it will stop political advertising ahead of the 2020 election, citing the influence such targeted ads have on national elections. CEO Jack Dorsey said in an Oct. 30 Twitter thread that the move was about “paying for reach” rather than “free expression.”

President Donald Trump has come under similar amounts of scrutiny for his Twitter use.

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled in July that the president violated the First Amendment when he blocked Twitter users who lambasted his policies. The Department of Justice expressed disappointment at the time, but has not yet determined if it will appeal.

“The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise‐open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees,” Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote in the 3-0 ruling. Trump has 62 million followers, while Ocasio-Cortez as 5 million.

Ocasio-Cortez has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment, and the DOJ has not responded to questions about whether the administration intends on appealing Parker’s ruling.

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