If the Democratic Party is having a hard time wrapping its head around first-time candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's major upset last month, the GOP is having an even worse time—especially when the specter of democratic socialism is raised.
At a Saturday campaign event, Florida Representative Ron DeSantis, who's currently running for governor, took a jab at Ocasio-Cortez to score easy points with the conservative crowd, knocking her political views and prowess.
"You look at this girl Ocasio-Cortez or whatever she is, I mean, she’s in a totally different universe,” DeSantis said in a video of his speech, obtained by HuffPost. “It’s basically socialism wrapped in ignorance.”
DeSantis went on to recall comments Ocasio-Cortez made earlier this month about Israel's "occupation" of Palestine, which earned her considerable flack despite the United Nations' Security Council agreement that Israel's settlements there have "no legal validity" in 2016.
“You’re just repeating these canned, left-wing talking points, and you’re somehow the savior of the Democratic Party?" DeSantis continued. "Good Lord. She has no clue what she’s talking about.”
Ocasio-Cortez hit back at DeSantis's comments on Twitter Monday afternoon.
"Rep. DeSantis, it seems you're confused as to 'whatever I am,'" she wrote. "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 [months] since María. But I'm sure these new FL voters appreciate your comments!"
DeSantis isn't the first to belittle Ocasio-Cortez's victory, or discount the broader movement of which she is part.
In the immediate aftermath of her primary win—which resulted in the defeat of ten-term incumbent Joe Crowley by double digits—House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi argued that socialism wasn't "ascendant" in the Democratic Party. Ocasio-Cortez's upset, she suggested, is likely a one-off.
"It’s ascendant in that district perhaps," Pelosi said. "But I don’t accept any characterization of our party presented by the Republicans. So let me reject that right now.”
But Ocasio-Cortez won't accept anyone who tries to explain away her success. "I smoked this race," she told The New Yorker for this week's print issue. "I didn't edge anybody out. I dominated. And I am going to own that."