Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got candid about her life and future ambitions, as she finishes her first term in Congress.
Speaking to Vanity Fair as the cover star for their December issue, Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) discussed her relationship with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, her bond with fellow “Squad” members, her own political aspirations and her fears about what will happen if a Biden administration fails to embrace progressivism.
While discussing Pelosi (D-Calif.), the progressive superstar called their feud last summer media-manufactured, though she acknowledged that party leadership still sometimes panicked about her speaking on the House floor.
“Two powerful women coming from different perspectives, and there has to be a catfight,” she said, shrugging.
“House leadership is, sometimes, a little wary of me speaking on the floor. Not that I’m not allowed to, but it’s a little more dicey. I think a lot of people, including my Democratic colleagues, believe the Fox News version of me,” the 31-year-old Congresswoman told the magazine.
As for her fellow members of “The Squad” — Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — AOC calls them a “gift from God.”
“There have been many times, especially in the first six months, where I felt like I couldn’t do this, like I didn’t know if I was going to be able to run for reelection. There was a time where the volume of threats had gotten so high that I didn’t even know if I was going to live to my next term,” she said referencing the number of death threats she and her family had received since becoming such a famous political face.
“Their sisterhood and their friendship, it’s not some political alliance. It’s a very deep, unconditional human bond.”
The Democratic socialist, who endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the Democratic presidential primary but is now backing former Vice President Joe Biden as part of a larger party unity effort, voiced her own concerns about what a President Biden will mean for the future.
“If his life doesn’t feel different,” AOC said, pointing to a cab driver, “if their life doesn’t feel different,” she continued, pointing to people walking by a small business nearby, “if these people’s lives don’t actually feel different, we’re done. You know how many Trumps there are in waiting?”
“I think, honestly, a lot of my dissent within the Democratic party comes from my lived experience. It’s not just that we can be better, it’s that we have to be better. We’re not good enough right now,” she explained of her support for progressive policies, adding that she was tired of the moderate approach of “bull—t little 10 percent tax cuts.”
The magazine asked the progressive Congresswoman about frequent discussions about her potential to seek higher office, such as an open New York Senate seat, currently held by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who will be up for reelection in 2022, or even the presidency.
While she acknowledged that she did not know what her political future would hold, she joked that where she was now is more than enough of an accomplishment.
“I think it’s part of our cultural understanding of politics, where—if you think someone is great, you automatically think they should be president. I joke. I’m like, ‘Is Congress not good enough?’” she said.
“I don’t know if I’m really going to be staying in the House forever, or if I do stay in the House, what that would look like. I don’t see myself really staying where I’m at for the rest of my life. I don’t want to aspire to a quote-unquote higher position just for the sake of that title or just for the sake of having a different or higher position.
“I truly make an assessment to see if I can be more effective. And so, you know, I don’t know if I could necessarily be more effective in an administration, but, for me that’s always what the question comes down to,” she confessed.
“I don’t want to be a savior, I want to be a mirror.”