Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has delivered a devastating, five-minute takedown of finance laws in the United States, in which she outlines what “a pretty bad guy” could legally do.
A video of the speech has been watched more than 12.5 million times, with British TV host James Corden helping it reach an even wider audience when he tweeted: “Oh my god. This is just sensational. Please watch and retweet.”
The Democrats’ social media superstar presented her argument after a Q&A session with the heads of ethics and finance watchdogs, telling them: “Let’s play a lightning round game”.
AOC, as she is known, continued: “I’m gonna be the bad guy, which I’m sure half the room would agree with anyway, and I want to get away with as much (sic) bad things as possible, ideally to enrich myself and advance my interests, even if that means putting my interests ahead of the American people.”
First, she asked president of Common Cause, Karen Hobert-Flynn, whether she could legally run a campaign entirely funded by corporate political action committees from the fossil fuel industry and big pharma — the answer was yes.
“Let’s say I have some skeletons in my closet that I need to cover up so I can get elected,” she added, in a thinly veiled dig at Donald Trump, who made hush payments to two women who alleged they had affairs with him.
She asked Bradley Smith from the Institute of Affairs to confirm that he had written an opinion piece about why the payments were not illegal. He confirmed it.
“So green light for hush money, I can do all sorts of terrible things … I use my special interest, dark-money-funded campaign to pay off folks that I need to pay off and get elected.”
Ms Ocasio-Cortez then asked Mrs Hobert-Flynn whether there would be any hard limit on what legislation she could then touch, the laws she could write or change, particularly relating to the special interest funds she accepted to finance her campaign. The watchdog head confirmed there was none.
The youngest congresswoman in history, who has found fame for her skill in communicating her message to Millennials, then asked whether there was anything stopping her from “holding stocks, say, in an oil or gas company and then writing laws to deregulate that industry … that could potentially cause the stock value to soar.”
Brennan Center for Justice senior counsel Rudy Mehrbani confirmed that, too.
“Is it possible any elements of this story apply to our current government and our current public servants right now?” the watchdog leaders agreed.
What’s more, she pointed our, these influences were present in that very committee shaping the questions that were being asked of them right now.
Walter Shaub, a senior adviser from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, confirmed that compared with the rest of congress, “There’s almost no laws at all that apply to the President.”
“It’s already super legal, as we’ve seen, for me to be a pretty bad guy,” the 29-year-old concludes. “So it’s even easier for the President of he United States to be one, I would assume.”
The memorable speech came after the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday launched a sweeping investigation into allegations of money laundering and “financial compromise” relating to Mr Trump.
The President is now the subject of multiple investigations into every aspect of his life, including his links to Russia, tax payments, business and charity — and he doesn’t like it at all.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, has just help launch the Democrats’ “Green New Deal” — a plan to “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” in the next 10 years that is set to become a key 2020 campaign platform.
She is openly critical of the President, remaining seated at times when others in her party cheered his State of the Union speech.
“Why should I be ‘spirited and warm’ for this embarrassment of a #SOTU?” she tweeted in response to criticism that she looked like a “sullen” teenager during the address.
“Tonight was an unsettling night for our country. The president failed to offer any plan, any vision at all, for our future.
“We’re flying without a pilot. And I’m not here to comfort anyone about that fact.”
Mr Trump has attacked her in return, commenting that the Democratic Party appeared to have been “taken over by a group of young people who, frankly, in some cases I’ve been watching, I actually think are crazy.”