“I was concerned there was a woman in crisis and want to ensure we treat the situation compassionately,” Democrat from New York had said earlier.
After an exchange during a local town hall event in her congressional district kicked off the viral hashtag #EatTheBabies on social media Thursday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded with a call for compassion and told right-wingers waging attacks to “knock it off” in the name of decency.
For background, the incident began when a questioner in the audience rose to ask Ocasio-Cortez a question about the planetary climate crisis, but it soon became clear that the woman—if not not a plant or troll—might be living with a mental health challenge as she warned that “we only have a few months left” to act and began to speak about the need to eat babies in order to solve global warming. As the woman spoke, she removed her coat to reveal a t-shirt that read: “Save the Planet, Eat the Children.
While it became obvious that the congresswoman, her aides, and others in the room were growing increasingly uncomfortable, the woman was treated with sympathy and dignity as the microphone was taken away and Ocasio-Cortez then attempted to address the issues raised while also seeming to reassure the crowd—and the woman herself—that “if we act in a positive way there’s space for hope. We are never beyond hope.”
Following the event—as footage of the incident began to spread online, mostly pushed by right-wing journalists and media operatives—Ocasio-Cortez took to her Twitter account to acknowledge what had occurred.
We had a fabulous town hall tonight & I’ll be highlighting some moments from it.
At one point I was concerned there was a woman in crisis & want to ensure we treat the situation compassionately.
Let’s not mock or make a spectacle. &let’s work on Medicare for All!
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 4, 2019
“This person may have been suffering from a mental condition,” she added, “and it’s not okay that the right-wing is mocking her and potentially make her condition or crisis worse. Be a decent human being and knock it off.”
It certainly occurred to many that the individual may have been acting the part of someone who was unstable and trolling the congresswoman in order to discredit her support for a Green New Deal, but it would have been impossible to know that in the moment. Reporting now suggests the whole thing was staged by a pro-Trump group:
That viral #EatTheBabies video from AOC’s town hall?
The woman was a plant and a pro-Trump fringe group that has been described as “a bizarre political cult” is claiming credit for planning the stunt.https://t.co/FUJP7ojfF6
— Allyson Chiu (@_allysonchiu) October 4, 2019
Journalist Matt Novak of Gizmodo reports Friday morning, “LaRouche PAC, a far-right group that supports Donald Trump, has taken credit for trolling Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during a town hall meeting yesterday.” According to Novak:
The connection of this stunt to LaRouche was first noted by London-based Matthew Sweet, author of the book Operation Chaos, which looks at conspiracy theorists of the late 1960s, including Lyndon LaRouche Jr., the late cofounder of the group. LaRouche, who was perhaps best known for his antisemitic conspiracy theories, died this past February. LaRouche claimed that Jews were actually funding the KKK and said that the Queen of England wanted to have him killed.
“It is textbook stuff,’ Sweet told Gizmodo via Twitter DM, referring to yesterday’s bizarre stunt. “They have been in this game for decades.”
In a new Tweet on Friday morning, Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged that the reporting was likely accurate:
Turns out the woman yelling was a Trump supporter 🤷🏽♀️
Doesn’t rule out potential mental issue (Drs do that) but good to know they were not in crisis.
Earlier this year I was stalked & very nearly hurt by a disturbed person. I don’t take chances & immediately try to de-escalate. https://t.co/kgWFvigJhy
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 4, 2019
Others, meanwhile, simply credited AOC for handling the way she did in the moment.
“Ocasio-Cortez handled the situation at her townhall with the same uncommon empathy & class that she has demonstrates in office every day,” tweeted one online observer. “The last thing to do with someone clearly experiencing a mental health crisis is antagonize or shame them. Well done.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s Thursday night plea, however, did not keep the provocative hashtag from proliferating in the right-wing echo chamber as Republicans continued to eat it up.
“The Democrats like @AOC want to kill and #EatTheBabies,” declared Omar Navarro, a Republican challenging Rep. Maxine Waters for her seat in California, on Twitter. “It’s a sick plan. Our @POTUS @realDonaldTrump should have an easy time winning in 2020.”
‘Out of touch’ Trump is ‘detached from the difficult reality the country is living’: ex-GOP lawmaker
According to a report from the New York Times' Peter Baker, Donald Trump has done nothing in the past week but fan the flames of discord at a time when the country is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 100,000 in the U.S. and protests have broken out in the streets over police brutality.
According to one former GOP member of the House, the president is completely detached from what is going on in America.
Trump opened the door for the deaths we’re seeing
Years before the nation's nursing homes experienced a heavy COVID-19 death toll, the Trump administration rolled back the federal rules and regulations put in place by the Obama administration aimed at improving infection control in these kinds of facilities.
This article first appeared in Salon
In an October 2016 edition of the Federal Register, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services published rules and regulations requiring long term care facilities "to develop an Infection Prevention and Control Program that includes an Antibiotic Stewardship Program and designate at least one Infection Preventionist"
‘MAGA loves the Black people’: Trump blows off accusation he’s trying to incite violence with ‘MAGA NIGHT’ tweet
On his way to Florida to witness the SpaceX launch, Donald Trump stopped to talk to reporters where he dismissed a question about the intent of a Saturday morning tweet taken by many to encourage his followers to show up outside the White House on Saturday night and confront George Floyd protesters.
Earlier in the day, the president tweeted, “The professionally managed so-called ‘protesters’ at the White House had little to do with the memory of George Floyd. They were just there to cause trouble. The @SecretService handled them easily. Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???”