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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mocks prayer in wake of deadly New Zealand massacre

Congresswoman's tweets draw criticism

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) mocked the notion of thoughts and prayers following Friday's deadly massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, which took the lives of at least 49 people and injured many.

An accused mass killer opened fire on two different mosques during times of prayer.

Authorities charged at least one person in the attack and detained three more.

You can read more on the horrific unfolding tragedy here.

What did she say?

In what the freshman congresswoman later described as a slam on the National Rifle Association, Ocasio-Cortez questioned the usefulness of thoughts and prayers during a tragedy like the one in New Zealand.

Shortly after the news broke, Ocasio-Cortez addressed comments made by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. In her remarks, Ardern mentioned that her "thoughts" were with those grieving over the deadly mass killing.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, "At 1st I thought of saying, 'Imagine being told your house of faith isn't safe anymore.' But I couldn't say 'imagine.' Because of Charleston. Pittsburgh. Sutherland Springs. What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don't even keep the pews safe?"

Ocasio-Cortez issued a second tweet attempting to clarify her first after receiving criticism.

She claimed that "'Thoughts and prayers' is reference to the NRA's phrase used to deflect conversation away from policy change during tragedies. Not directed to [New Zealand] PM Ardern, who I greatly admire."

How did people react?

Despite her clarification, many people took issue with Ocasio-Cortez's remarks, calling them insensitive and hurtful.

Siraj Hashmi, of the Washington Examiner, was one of them.

He wrote, "[T]his is incredibly insensitive to my muslim brothers and sisters who were slain in cold blood while they were literally praying because they want to be closer to their creator and they want to become better people."

NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch chimed in and wrote, "Pretty sure thoughts and prayers isn't anyone's phrase, and prayer especially (which you mocked earlier after what happened in a house of prayer?) is a real action, a petition to, a conversation with, God — in this case, to request protection, comfort for those suffering."

Comedian Tim Young added, "If one of your first 1000 thoughts after a horrific mass shooting is to go dunk on a person, a religious belief or an organization on Twitter, you should delete your account."

To note, Ocasio-Cortez appears to be a practicing Catholic, sporting ashes on her forehead on Ash Wednesday:

One last thing…
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