Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," blasted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday for not opening her local office, despite being in Congress for two months.
What's a brief background?
Scarborough, a former congressman himself, was speaking to former Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) when he made the remarks.
Pointing to a New York Times story introduced by co-host Mika Brzezinski, Scarborough admitted his surprise that Ocasio-Cortez has yet to set up a district office, and instead, seems more content to try and set a national agenda with her politics.
The January article was titled, "Ocasio-Cortez builds a National Platform, but a District Office? Not Open Yet." The report notes that Ocasio-Cortez's office may be open by March. Ocasio-Cortez has said the holdup is due to a greedy landlord who is reportedly charging her more to rent the offices than he did her predecessor, New York Rep. Joe Crowley (D).
The New York Post also recently reported that Ocasio-Cortez does not have a district office, has no local phone number. The outlet also reported that her neighbors at the Bronx apartment where she claims to live have said they have never seen her in the building at all.
Even the mail carrier at Ocasio-Cortez's alleged apartment said that constituents are spinning their wheels in trying to contact the congresswoman through her "home" address.
"Just because their names are on the box doesn't mean they live there," he told the outlet. "Constituents come here and leave notes on the door. But it's a waste of time."
A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez said the congresswoman moved this month to another apartment building in the area.
Ocasio-Cortez also addressed the reports on Twitter Monday, writing, "I still live in my hood and literally Instagrammed from my apartment tonight. A man was just arrested last week with a stockpile of guns specifically trying to kill me & others, so yeah I'm not gonna disclose my personal address or tell people when I move. Sorry!"
So what did Scarborough say?
"When I first heard this story, I thought it was a hoax," Scarborough told McCaskill, "because I didn't think it was possible to serve in Congress without local constituent offices. Because I'm sure like you, like me — like everybody I know at least — focused on setting up that local office first, because that's where the rubber meets the road.
"That's where you serve your constituents the most," he added.
Scarborough noted that when he was a former Republican congressman for the state of Florida, he took great strides in being locally available to his constituents.
"Nobody came up to me 10 years later and said, 'Hey, thank you so much for that press conference you had about the flat tax. Thank you so much for that press conference you had about getting rid of four cabinet agencies,'" he added. "It was, 'Congressman, you saved our farm.'"
McCaskill agreed with Scarborough on his assessment, though she had kinder and less critical words for the freshman congresswoman.
"I'm not chastising her. I'm not criticizing her," McCaskill qualified. "I'm saying don't miss out on this part [of the job]. You'll be sorry if you do."
You can watch video footage of the exchange here.