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Everyone’s Trying to Figure Out Whether AOC’s Tears on the House Floor Were Real

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., broke down on the House floor Thursday after voting on a bill that will provide Israel with $1 billion for its Iron Dome missile defense system.

SO WHAT

The viral moment raised questions about the authenticity of AOC’s tears — and the state of American populism.

THE MOMENT

In video shared widely on social media, Ocasio-Cortez was consoled by fellow lawmakers as she appeared to start crying moments after the bill overwhelmingly passed the House, 420-9.

Ocasio-Cortez switched her vote to “present” at the last minute — going against her fellow “Squad” members, who opposed the bill.

  • On Tuesday, a group of other Israel-critical progressives — along with a number of Republicans — forced the Democrats to remove the Iron Dome funding from legislation to keep the U.S. government funded.
  • But all but eight Democrats and one Republican ultimately dropped their opposition, voting for the standalone bill or effectively abstaining like Ocasio-Cortez.

IS AOC OK?

Critics on Twitter responded without mercy to Ocasio-Cortez’s post-vote display of distress.

  • “AOC literally in tears after voting ‘present’ on the Iron Dome funding. More Jew hating theatrics from the squad,” Jerusalem Post columnist Emily Shrader commented.
  • “Why is @AOC crying? Because Jewish and Christian women and children won’t shake in terror as unguided rockets rain down on their homes and schools,” said Josh Mandel, a “MAGA” Ohio GOP Senate candidate.

Others, on both the right and the left, accused Ocasio-Cortez of faking it.

  • Theater and bad theater at that,” conservative pundit Meghan McCain said.
  • “If not voting ‘no’ is that upsetting, then vote ‘no.’ Otherwise these are crocodile tears,” said Eoin Higgins, a reporter for The Intercept, a left-wing news outlet.
  • “[She] got the dry-cleaning bill from the [M]et,” quipped Washington Examiner executive editor Seth Mandel, referring to Ocasio-Cortez recent appearance at the ritzy Met Gala in a “Tax the Rich” gown.

IS IT ALL A SHAM?

Behind Twitter’s questions about the authenticity of Ocasio-Cortez’s tears was a larger debate about how seriously to take America’s populist moment.

In a series of scathing tweets, journalist Glenn Greenwald, a critic of the U.S. national security state and Israel, joined other left-wing commentators in accusing Ocasio-Cortez of selling out her anti-establishment principals.

At the same time, Greenwald charged“America First” Republicans with hypocrisy for supporting “transferring huge amounts of tax payer money to a foreign [country] for its military instead of spending it on our own.”

  • He also noted that Ocasio-Cortez in May changed her vote to “present” on a bill that expanded the Capitol Police’s budget to $1.9 billion in response to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, thereby allowing the legislation to pass.

NEXT UP

A vote on the Iron Dome funding has yet to be scheduled in the Senate, which would need to approve the bill’s passage.

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