Andy Barr, a Republican rep from Kentucky, invited Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D.-N.Y.) to meet coal miners from his home state as an attempt to push back against her Green New Deal resolution. He claimed that the trip would show her “what the Green New Deal would mean for their families, their paychecks.”
What he wasn’t prepared for was AOC readily accepting the invitation. She said she’d be “happy” to come and pointed out that the Green New Deal gives pension payments for people employed in the mining industry.
“We want a just transition to make sure we are investing in jobs across those swaths of the country,” the freshman rep noted.
The Kentucky Republican now appears to be a bit more hesitant about her visit, and told Ocasio-Cortez that she needs to apologize to Dan Crenshaw (R.-Texas), whom she criticized for his Islamophobic attacks on Twitter against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D.-Minn.), before coming to the Bluegrass State. Corbin Trent, a spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez, told the Lexington Herald-Leader, “We’re very proud and thankful for (Crenshaw’s) service, but what we are talking about is his fanning the flames of hate.”
Trent further explained to the Courier Journal:
Luckily, Kentucky has open borders. If we decided to go to Kentucky to visit with coal miners, which we certainly hope to, and talk about the opportunities that can be brought to the rural South … and to coal-mine country and Appalachia, that can be brought by transitioning to renewable energy and the Green New Deal, we’ll be excited to do so.
It’s pretty clear at this point that Barr brought a knife to a gunfight, with even Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) telling the Lexington Herald-Leader, “I think a lot of Republicans are making a mistake picking on [Ocasio-Cortez]. I think we need to be very prepared when we debate her on issues that we’re having a hard time with.”
When progressives like Ocasio-Cortez step up to the plate, Americans in Republican strongholds have the chance to see what legislative action in their own interests actually looks like.