US President Donald Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have traded insults over the young Democrat’s controversial “Green New Deal”.
During a rally in El Paso, Texas, Mr Trump mocked the plan — an economic stimulus that aims to fight income inequality and climate change — as a “massive government takeover over that would destroy the incredible economic gains” of the US under his administration.
“Sounds like a high school term paper that got a low mark,” he quipped.
The 29-year-old Congresswoman hit back on Twitter, retorting: “Ah yes, a man who can’t even read briefings written in full sentences is providing literary criticism of a House Resolution.”
She then quoted a Washington Post article that said: “Reading the intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred ‘style of learning’, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.”
Ah yes, a man who can’t even read briefings written in full sentences is providing literary criticism of a House Resolution.
(“Reading the intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred ‘style of learning,’ according to a person with knowledge of the situation.”
– @washingtonpost) https://t.co/O7daeYlXZO
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 12, 2019
During the rally, Mr Trump also claimed the plan would mean removing cars, tearing down buildings and shutting down air travel.
“How do you take a train to Europe?” he joked. “How are we getting to Hawaii on a train? They want to take away your car, reduce the value of your home and put millions of Americans out of work.”
WHAT IS THE GREEN NEW DEAL?
The Green New Deal refers to a massive program of investments in clean energy, with the aims of transforming the entire economy.
It aims to both better the environment and make the economy fairer and more just, creating thousands of jobs in renewable energy.
The ambitious proposals go far beyond the Clean Power Plan, which was put forward by former US president Barack Obama and subsequently scrapped by the Trump administration.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement the plan would create “unprecedented levels of prosperity and wealth for all while ensuring economic and environmental justice and security”. She called for a “World War II-scale mobilisation” that included high-quality education and healthcare, clean air and water, and safe, affordable housing.
She said it would be paid for “the same way we paid for the original New Deal, World War II, the bank bailouts, tax cuts for the rich and decades of war — with public money appropriated by Congress”. Government can take an equity stake in Green New Deal projects “so the public gets a return on its investment”, she said.
Opinions are divided on the plan. Some have hailed it as a bold and revolutionary step forward, while others, like Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, warn it signifies the “first step down a dark path to socialism”.
There’s even division among the Democrats, with Senator Nancy Pelosi referring to the proposal as “the green dream, or whatever they call it” during a Politico interview.
It’s also been argued the sheer scope of the plan makes it an unrealistic mess, with some critics describing its goals as “impossible”.
Answering those who call the plan unrealistic, Ms Ocasio-Cortez said when president John F. Kennedy wanted to go to the moon by the end of the 1960s, “people said it was impossible”.
She also cites Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and the interstate highway system begun under Dwight D. Eisenhower as examples of American know-how and capability.
While focusing on renewable energy, Ms Ocasio-Cortez said the plan would include existing nuclear power plants but block new nuclear plants. Nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming. The resolution does not include a price tag, but some Republicans predict it would cost in the trillions of dollars.
They denounced the plan at House hearings on climate change last week.