Cardi B posted a video to Instagram on Wednesday evening in which she condemned Donald Trump’s use of a government shutdown as leverage to build a $5.6 billion border wall. The video immediately went viral, with many progressives — and some long-time congressional Democrats — celebrating its message in support of workers.
“This shit is serious, bro. This shit is crazy. Our country is in a hellhole right now, all for a fucking wall. … I feel like we need to take some action. I don't know what type of action because this is not what I do. But I'm scared,” the rapper said.
Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, and even Minority Leader Chuck Schumer started publicly discussing the video on a thread, pondering whether to retweet Cardi B.
“(Trying to decide whether or not to retweet the Cardi B video),” Schatz tweeted.
“Omg, I had the same argument with myself 30 minutes ago!” Murphy responded.
“Ok you do it,” Schatz said. “And say retweets are not endorsements, especially the language, and I will retweet.”
“DHYB,” Murphy then responded.
Eventually, Schumer weighed in.
Such displays by Washington politicians are becoming increasingly common since Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who, like Cardi B, is a millennial woman of color from the Bronx — captured the national spotlight when she became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress in November. The 29-year-old congresswoman draws an immense amount of attention on social media, boasting more reach than most major news organizations and the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates combined.
Ocasio-Cortez is known to host informal Q&A sessions on her Instagram while she prepares meals. Her videos are so popular that far more experienced Democrats have attempted to use her methods to become more relatable to the electorate. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate, posted a live video of herself drinking a beer. Beto O’Rourke, also widely expected to run in 2020, has posted live videos of himself getting a dental cleaning.
The reception to such efforts, however, has been mixed at best. In a bid to improve their use of social media, Democrats tapped Ocasio-Cortez to host a social media seminar Thursday morning to teach lawmakers how to better use their platforms to be more authentic.
Unlike Schumer, we won’t be holding our breath.
Cover: Photo apparently taken by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, posted on Rep. Ted Lieu's Twitter feed Thursday.