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Ocasio-Cortez Should Not Have to Apologize for Her State of the Union Response
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7 Feb 2019 11:38 AM EST

-by Drew Kolar, Editor; Image: New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the State of the Union on February 5 (Image Source: CNN Screenshot via Hollywood Reporter)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was visibly displeased with Tuesday’s State of the Union address, and despite critics insinuating that she should apologize for her somber expression, the 29-year-old Congresswoman is refusing to back down.

“Why should I be ‘spirited and warm’ for this embarrassment of a #SOTU?” she wrote on Twitter in response to criticism from writer Peggy Noonan. “Tonight was an unsettling night for our country. The president failed to offer any plan, any vision at all, for our future.”

“We’re flying without a pilot. And I‘m not here to comfort anyone about that fact,” she added.

Ocasio-Cortez was responding to a jab from Noonan, a Pulitzer Prize winner who wrote President Ronald Reagan’s speeches. Noonan was critical of the New York representative’s presentation during Donald Trump’s speech.

“And good natured with the white jackets, who I see some on twitter are calling the straight jackets. AOC had a rare bad night, looking not spirited, warm and original as usual but sullen, teenaged and at a loss,” Noonan posted on Twitter.

Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis joined Noonan also criticized the Congresswoman, posting on Twitter, “@AOC looks like someone who just found out an MS13 gang member in our country illegally committed a murder on a subway platform in her district after she spent months calling for ICE to be abolished. Oh wait …”

Malliotakis was referring to Malliotakis Ramiro Gutierrez, a member of MS-13 member who allegedly shot a rival to death over the weekend on a subway platform in Queens.

Along with a stern expression throughout most of the speech, Ocasio-Cortez also wore a brooch featuring a photo of the 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died while in custody of Customs and Border Protection in December. The Democratic women in attendance also wore white in solidarity to draw awareness that there are now 102 women in the House and to honor the women’s suffrage movement that inspired 19th Amendment in 1920, granting voting rights to women.

The only time Ocasio-Cortez seemed pleased during the ordeal was when the president acknowledged the women in Congress. Still, the New Yorker refuses to back down and noted that her attitude is not about to change.

“They can get used to it because I won’t be smiling for this president anytime soon,” she told the New York Post on Wednesday.

Despite the criticism, however, Ocasio-Cortez certainly has every right to express herself. Her reaction is a perfect example of how many Democrats feel about the Trump administration and his appalling views and actions regarding immigration, women’s issues, and other human rights issues across the board—just to name a few.

Her response has since gone viral, along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visibly sarcastic applause. And alongside the criticism, AOC, as she has been dubbed on social media, was also met with her fair share of supporters.

“We’re not going to smile and clap like seals to make him or you comfortable,” Charlotte Clymer of the Human Rights Campaign wrote on Twitter in defense of the Congresswoman.

“Ladies, don’t look serious while a man tries to tell you what you can do with your bodies. Smile like an idiot no matter what, and the world is your oyster!” New York journalist Laurie Brookins added.

While she will undoubtedly continue to face criticism from conservatives throughout her career, she should continue to stand out and make it known that many of us in this country stand with her and her progressive views. Her bravery in the face of opposition from the current administration will only make liberals’ voices louder and stronger, and many of us are excited to see what change she may inspire throughout her tenure.

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