Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she is 'proud' of her past after Trump dismissed her as a 'young bartender'

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderUS Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking at the NAN Conference, April 5, 2019 in New York City.
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended her pre-Congress job after President Donald Trump dismissed her as a “young bartender.”
  • “I’d rather have someone that serves in a bar to feed their family and do the right thing than to have somebody sitting up in gilded penthouses that tries to figure out how to hurt people,” Rev. Al Sharpton said Friday while introducing Ocasio-Cortez.
  • The freshman congresswoman spoke at a civil rights conference where several 2020 presidential candidates also appeared this week.

NEW YORK CITY – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended her bartending experience during a speech on Friday, days after President Donald Trump derided her as a “young bartender.”

Rev. Al Sharpton introduced the 29-year-old lawmaker at a civil rights conference in New York City by praising her work experience and contrasting it with Trump’s leadership.

“I never met a bartender that took a baby out of their mother’s arms on the border of Mexico, I never met a bartender that insulted people’s nations, calling them ‘s-nations,’ I never met a bartender that tried to cut Medicare and Medicaid and affordable healthcare,” Sharpton said. “I’d rather have someone that serves in a bar to feed their family and do the right thing than to have somebody sitting up in gilded penthouses that tries to figure out how to hurt people.”

Sharpton called Ocasio-Cortez “our little sister, who went from being a bartender serving customers to congresswoman serving the people.”

She thanked Sharpton for the praise and insisted that working-class Americans shouldn’t be shamed.

“I’m proud to be a bartender – ain’t nothing wrong with that,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with working retail, folding clothes for other people to buy, there is nothing wrong with preparing the food that your neighbours will eat. There is nothing wrong with driving the buses that will take your family to work.”

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rev. Al SharptonHollis Johnson/Business InsiderRev. Al Sharpton (left) and US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (right) onstage at the NAN Conference, April 5, 2019 in New York City.


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She went on, “There is nothing wrong with being a working person in the United States of America and there is everything dignified about it.”

During a speech on Tuesday at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual spring dinner, Trump referenced Ocasio-Cortez’s past and her Green New Deal resolution – a sweeping plan to fight climate change, stimulate the economy, and expand the social safety net.

“The Green New Deal. Done by a young bartender, 29-years-old, wonderful young woman,” Trump said.

The president went on, “You have senators that are professionals. That, you guys know, that have been there for a long time. White hair, everything perfect. And they’re standing behind her and they’re shaking. They’re petrified of her.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s Friday speech came after talks from four 2020 presidential candidates – Sens. Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. All of the candidates discussed civil rights and racial inequality.

The Bronx, New York native went on to discuss Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy the day after the 51st anniversary of his assassination.

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