On Saturday I posted a clip of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) making an embarrassing, though relatively minor, historical gaffe.
The moment came at some point during her MSNBC townhall with Chris Hayes on her proposed Green New Deal. While this portion didn’t air on Friday night, the network posted an “overtime” segment online, which is where I spotted AOC’s goof.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, in describing the broad Democratic support President Franklin Delano Roosevelt enjoyed during the New Deal era, bizarrely claimed Congress ended up amending the Constitution to remove him from office.
"They had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get reelected," AOC said, a claim that didn’t appear to raise any eyebrows from those in attendance. Of course, FDR died in office during his fourth presidential term, and the 22nd Amendment was only passed out of Congress in 1947, not being ratified until 1951.
I posted the clip to Twitter, thinking it wasn’t important enough to merit writing up as an actual article:
After the tweet went viral, I half-expected AOC to issue some sort of clarification, jokingly acknowledging the slipup. However, none came.
Then, on Monday, Newsweek made the strange decision to argue she actually got her history right:
The article pointed to an obscure Twitter user who responded to my tweet, saying that because Congress had been talking about the 22nd Amendment while FDR was still alive, AOC “got it right.” Newsweek then referenced an article from the National Constitution Center about the 22nd Amendment, which the news magazine said backed up AOC’s claim.
In reality, the referenced National Constitution Center article never made any mention of FDR being removed from office via the 22nd Amendment, nor did it mention Rep. Ocasio-Cortez — likely because the article was published last year. At some point after I pointed out these mistakes, Newsweek updated its headline to reflect the fact that AOC did indeed get her history wrong. The headline now reads: ‘Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Attacked on Twitter for Constitutional Mistake – But Here’s the Full Story.’
On Monday evening, AOC used this Newsweek post — evidently having read it before it was updated — to mock Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who had cited my tweet and added, “We knew the Democrats let dead people vote. According to @AOC, they can run for President, too.”
AOC responded: “I see from your dead people comment that you get your news from Facebook memes, but the National Constitution Center + Newsweek are just two of many places where you can clarify your misunderstanding of the history of the 22nd Amendment.”
So rather than simply admitting goofing and quickly snuffing out this story, AOC is now lying in an attempt at saving face. It’s a bad look coming from a congresswoman who claims she entered politics to clean up Washington. And it’s an especially bad look for a politician who needs every ounce of credibility she can muster if she wants to get her Green New Deal off the ground.