Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez not ruling out challenging Chuck Schumer in 2022
Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is not ruling out primarying Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for his Senate seat in 2022. Rumors have been swirling for months that AOC thinks it is time for Schumer and Pelosi to leave the Democratic leadership to make way for newer, younger, more progressive leaders to fill the void.
In an interview with Punchbowl News, AOC was asked if she had a timeline for making a decision on whether or not to challenge Schumer in 2022 and whether she thought he was doing a good job.
“It’s a hard thing to say, too. We’ve had to deal with a fascist president and Mitch McConnell,” she said. “There are things you can do in the minority. There are also things you couldn’t do with this minority because Senate rules changed.”
“I like to think of myself as a good-faith actor and not make unfair critiques. But I do wonder,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.
“I’m a no bulls*** kind of person. I’m not playing coy or anything like that. I’m still very much in a place where I’m trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress, our [political] process, and our country actually address the issues of climate change, health care, wage inequality, etc.,” she said in the interview.
AOC was asked whether her decision would be affected if Democrats look likely to lose their House majority and she responded, “I’m not sure about that either. For me, I don’t make these decisions based on these short-term factors.”
The 31-year-old congresswoman went on to say she is thinking beyond a two-year time frame, saying, “If I want to have a child, I would want my child – or my nieces or nephews – to have guaranteed health care by the time they’re my age. And freedom from want. I’m also very indecisive.”
In reference to her relationship with Schumer, she told the media outlet, “He and I have an open relationship, we speak to each other regularly.”
Ocasio-Cortez has quite a following especially among millennials on social media. However, she is still very much a newcomer, and her powers are extremely limited. In December, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee voted to seat Rep. Kathleen Rice on a coveted committee over Ocasio-Cortez, her New York colleague, in the latest example of House Democrats snubbing the iconic politico who represents the Bronx and Queens.
This is not the first time that Ocasio-Cortez has declined to rule out interest in Schumer’s seat. In April, when asked if she’d rule out a run against the most powerful Democrat in the U.S. Senate in 2022, she replied: “I don’t know.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who is one of the most liberal politicians in Washington and a strong ally of Bernie Sanders, previously said she was not thinking of the Senate “in any serious way.” In a December interview with The Intercept’s podcast, she said the Democratic Party “needs new leadership,” but said “the House is extraordinarily complex, and I’m not ready. It can’t be me. I know that I couldn’t do that job.”
Asked about a possible challenge from Ocasio-Cortez by CNN back in April, Schumer said, “Look, throughout my career, I have done my job. I’m totally focused on COVID, we are the epicenter. And I have found, throughout my career, you do your job well, everything else works out okay.”
President Trump has said over the last year that he believes Ocasio-Cortez could oust Schumer in New York.