Debate Thumbs Down: Ocasio-Cortez Mocks Democratic Candidates for Being Ill-Prepared, Speaking ‘Spanglish’

Debate Thumbs Down: Ocasio-Cortez Mocks Democratic Candidates for Being Ill-Prepared, Speaking ‘Spanglish’


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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At least one Democrat was decidedly unimpressed with the performance of the 2020 primary candidates in their first televised debate.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert shortly after the debate wrapped, mocked her Democratic colleagues for being ill-prepared and speaking amateur Spanish. 

“I represent The Bronx, there was a lot of Spanglish in the building,” Ocasio-Cortez told Colbert. “I thought it was humorous sometimes, at times.”

The freshman Democrat then showed off her own Spanish speaking ability, saying in Spanish, “Hello, I’m running for president, I will not give you an answer to your question.”

But that wasn’t the only thing Ocasio-Cortez mocked Democrats for. She also said the candidates came off as unprepared, like students who’ve crammed for an exam.

“I think sometimes with the debate stage this big, it can kind of seem like a high school classroom, and so there are some folks that, like, didn’t seem like they read the book, and then they got called on,” she said. 

Asked if she’s referring to anyone in particular, Ocasio-Cortez replied: “It depends on the question. So— so they’ll answer the question or they’ll get called on, and I don’t think some candidates thought that they were going to get called on, on a certain question. And they’ll be like, “Yes, the hero was courageous and the protagonist of the story.”

She also attacked debate host network NBC for not asking more questions about global climate change.

“I don’t think that we are discussing climate change the way we need to be discussing climate change,” she said of the debate. “In our country. It is such a huge, broad, systemic issue, and you can’t just say, ‘Is Miami going to exist in 50 years?’ We need to say, ‘What are you going to do about this?’ And I know there’s a lot of folks, a lot of young people that have been mobilizing for an entire climate debate in the Democratic caucus. I think it’s a good idea, because when it comes to climate change — climate change is an infrastructure issue. It’s a jobs issue. It’s an energy issue. It’s a foreign policy issue. And we can’t just talk about the copacabana. You know what I mean?”

The two-night debate event wraps up Thursday evening with the second batch of 10 contenders facing off on the same stage in Miami, Fla.

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