Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that it’s not all that “liberating” to open up the economy during a global pandemic so people can return to grueling 70-hour work weeks, in the debut installment of VICE TV’s political talk show “Seat at the Table with Anand Giridharadas,” which airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.
The New York Democrat slammed President Trump’s encouragement of the protesters calling to “liberate” various states from their lockdown orders. The sweeping stay-at-home mandates are meant to protect people from the coronavirus and keep hospitals from collapse, but have also contributed to widespread job loss.
“Only in America, does the president, when the president tweets about liberation, does he mean ‘go back to work,’” the progressive legislator said. “We have this discussion about ‘going back’ or ‘reopening’ — I think a lot of people should just say ‘No, we’re not going back to that. We’re not going back to working 70-hour weeks just so that we can put food on the table and not feel any sort of semblance of security in our lives.”
Separately, Ocasio-Cortez spoke of the virus’ devastation on her district, which encompasses hard-hit neighborhoods in the Queens and the Bronx. New York City alone has recorded nearly 140,000 cases of COVID-19, and almost 15,000 deaths.
“I have to call family members, congregations and people in our community offering condolences and day in and day out.”
“I have to call family members, congregations and people in our community offering condolences and day in and day out. I have to talk to teenage kids who have lost their parents. I have to talk to spouses that have lost their husband or wife of several decades,” Ocasio- Cortez said. “I have to talk to people who have lost their pastor or who have lost their Imam, or who have lost their spiritual leader of their community, and you know, I have to talk to people who say where am I going to get my next meal or am I going to be evicted from my apartment next month?”
Cover: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appearing on "Seat at the Table" with Anand Giridharadas via video chat. (Screen shot: VICE TV)
This article originally appeared on VICE US.