Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defends world ending in 12 years claim, says it was ‘sarcasm’

May 13, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a shock confession walking back her infamous claim that climate change will destroy the world in 12 years and — wait for it — blaming Republicans.

The progressive firebrand said that she wasn’t speaking “literally” when she said that America has little over a decade to stop global warming, and blamed conservatives for misrepresenting her statements. It follows a now-familiar pattern for the inexperienced lawmaker, who has a tendency to make outlandish claims, then retract them and blame Republicans when criticized.

“Like the ‘world ending in 12 years’ thing, you’d have to have the social intelligence of a sea sponge to think it’s literal. But the GOP is basically Dwight from The Office so who knows,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

AOC walks back climate change gaffe, blames GOP

Ocasio-Cortez claimed that climate change would destroy the world in 12 years in January, likening global warming to World War II. In a typically snarky tweet Sunday, AOC said that anyone who thought she was being serious when she made the claim has the “social intelligence of a sea sponge” and compared Republicans to Dwight Schrute from The Office. 

Ocasio-Cortez blasted the “technique” of Republicans, which involves misrepresenting her “dry humor” and “fact-checking it” instead of realizing that she’s being sarcastic. Essentially, AOC mocked Republicans as humorless dorks who can’t tell when she’s joking.

However, it certainly didn’t sound like AOC was joking in January when she likened climate change to World War II.

“I think that the part of it that is generational is that millennials and Gen-Z and all these folks that come after us are looking up and we’re like, ‘The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,’ and your biggest issue is–your biggest issue is, ‘How are we going to pay for it?’” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And, like, this is the war; this is our World War II.”

AOC contradicts herself

But the report that Ocasio-Cortez was citing from the UN did state that there are only 12 years left. In an Instagram live stream in April, Ocasio-Cortez again repeated the 12 years claim and compared climate change deniers to segregationists during the Civil Rights Era. She declared that “we have 12 years left to cut emissions by at least 50%, if not more, and for everyone who wants to make a joke about that, you may laugh, but your grandkids will not.”

In a tweet in January after her initial comments, Ocasio-Cortez said just the opposite, criticizing Republicans for thinking it was a gaffe when it was not.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter

Climate change is here + we’ve got a deadline: 12 years left to cut emissions in half. A #GreenNewDeal is our plan for a world and a future worth fighting for. How did we get here? What is at stake? And where are we going?

Pattern of evasion

At any rate, Ocasio-Cortez has made fighting climate change her signature issue; why would anyone think a lawmaker with her interest in climate change, and her tendency for exaggeration, was not being serious?

In fairness, it is often hard to tell when AOC is joking and when she isn’t. The thing is, Republicans don’t need much “technique” when AOC is doing all the work for them, making a fool of her party.

It’s not as if Ocasio-Cortez has never said outlandish, embarrassing things before. This is the same lawmaker who blasted former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for overseeing one of the worst human rights abuses in history. The same lawmaker who said that illegal immigrants are more patriotic than Americans who favor border control. But it’s the Republicans who are tin-eared?

This is just a lame excuse to evade criticism. “Just kidding!” Really? This is the latest example of AOC’s “technique” of shifting blame to Republicans and fact-checkers – or just straight up declare that facts are irrelevant – when challenged. The freshman lawmaker has even blamed Republicans for her bad poll numbers.

Are Republicans acting in bad faith, or are we just squares?  Or maybe AOC is clueless and immature. If she wants everyone else to take climate change seriously, then she should take ownership of her statements.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.