Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Kentucky Trip Is Happening With Or Without Her GOP Colleague
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn't appear to be bothered by the fact that Republican Rep. Andy Barr has walked back his invitation to show her around his home state. In fact, a spokesperson for the freshman congresswoman recently told CNN that Ocasio-Cortez still plans to visit Kentucky despite Barr's revoked invitation. According to the cable news network, other Kentuckians have extended invitations to the New York congresswoman.
"Luckily, we still have open borders with Kentucky, we are free to travel there," Ocasio-Cortez' communications director Corbin Trent told CNN. "We hope to visit and have a town hall, listen to concerns of workers in Kentucky."
While Barr's recent decision to publicly revoke an invitation he'd extended last month won't keep Ocasio-Cortez from seeing all Kentucky has to offer, the exact timing of her trip remains unclear, CNN reported Trent said. What's more, it's unclear who did extend an invitation to the congresswoman in the wake of Barr's pulled invite.
"I didn't issue such an invitation," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is one of Kentucky's two senators, told CNN. "It will be interesting if she does, in fact, come."
While debating the potential impacts of her Green New Deal during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in March, Barr invited Ocasio-Cortez to tour the coal mines in eastern Kentucky and meet with miners, the Hill reported, noting that the New York congresswoman jumped at the chance.
"In the Green New Deal, one of the things I advocate for is fully funding the pensions of coal miners in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia because we want a just transition to make sure that we're investing in jobs across those swaths of the country," the Hill reported Ocasio-Cortez said when accepting Barr's invitation.
Earlier this month, however, Barr appeared to rescind his invite, saying Ocasio-Cortez would have to apologize for criticizing fellow Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw for both his refusal to support the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund and his role in attacks against Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar. "Your recent comments about Congressman Crenshaw demonstrate a lack of civility that is becoming far too common in the U.S. House of Representatives," Barr wrote in an April 12 letter to the congresswoman. "I urge you to apologize to our colleague prior to coming to visit Kentucky."
Ocasio-Cortez's office told CNN she has no intention of apologizing to Crenshaw and actually thinks he should apologize to Rep. Omar. What's more, she's characterized Barr's rescinded invite as proof that Republicans were fearful her policy ideas might catch on with voters in traditionally red states like Kentucky. "GOP thought they could catch us with a bluff," she tweeted in response to Barr's letter. "Now we've got 'em on their back foot stutter-stepping #TooLate."
In a separate tweet responding to Kentucky Rep. James Comer saying he saw no upside to Ocasio-Cortez visiting Kentucky, the New York congresswoman claimed the "GOP's getting scared that up close, their constituents will realize I'm fighting harder for their healthcare than their own Reps."