Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla), a sitting congressman and current candidate for U.S. Senate, came under fire for referring to New York Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as “this girl Ocasio-Cortez or whatever she is.”
In a Fox News interview, DeSantis defended his words, saying that he didn't care “if she's an Eskimo.”
What are the details?
This episode started when DeSantis was addressing a crowd of supporters at an event Saturday in Orange Park, Florida.
“You look at this girl Ocasio-Cortez or whatever she is, I mean, she’s in a totally different universe. It’s basically socialism wrapped in ignorance, and it's problematic.”
Ocasio-Cortez took issue with this wording, and responded on Twitter:
Rep DeSantis, it seems you‘re confused as to “whatever I am.”
I am a Puerto Rican woman. It‘s strange you don’t know what that is, given that ~75,000 Puerto Ricans have relocated to Florida in the 10 mos since María.
But I’m sure these new FL voters appreciate your comments! https://t.co/xJlroSe5Hs
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) July 23, 2018
DeSantis shot back during a Fox News interview, accusing Ocasio-Cortez of trying to play “identity politics”:
I don’t care whether she Puerto Rican, whether she’s Anglo-Saxon, I don’t care whether she’s an Eskimo. Socialism doesn’t work. And it’s wrong. And you know what? I would say there’s probably a stronger aversion among some of our Hispanic populations in Florida than even the broader population.
DeSantis also defended his use of the word “girl” to describe Ocasio-Cortez by mentioning that she often referred to herself as “a girl from the Bronx.”
How are these candidates doing?
Ocasio-Cortez, who labels herself as a "Democratic Socialist," has already clinched the Democratic nomination in her race, and will face off in November against Republican Anthony Pappas in New York's heavily Democratic 14th Congressional district, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens.
A poll taken July 20-21 by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economic Polling Initiative found DeSantis with a comfortable 27 point lead over his Republican opponent, Florida Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam. Florida's primary election will take place on Aug. 28.