Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says Republicans have ‘stopped interrupting me’ after she ‘let them have it’ during committee hearings

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a press conference on Capitol Hill.
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Saul Loeb/Getty Images

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said her job as a lawmaker had gotten easier as she’s gained respect and confidence in Washington.
  • “I do think that when I first got here, almost everyone thought I was a lightweight,” Ocasio-Cortez told Vogue in a story published Wednesday. “Republicans really tried to f— with me, for lack of a better term.”
  • But, she argued, Republicans are listening to her now. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas conservative, provoked a flurry of media attention last month when he announced his desire to work with the New Yorker.
  • Ocasio-Cortez recently said she was “extraordinarily excited” about her “bizarre” alliance with Cruz.
  • “You can be radical and you can be respectful – and I know that many people may think that that’s not cool. But I have a genuine desire to connect and to convince,” she told Vogue. “And I actually think that it’s more possible than people give credit for in this institution.”
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said her job as a lawmaker had gotten easier as she’s gained respect and confidence in Washington.

The 29-year-old freshman lawmaker said it took a few months to adjust to her grueling, heavily scrutinized new life.

“The first three months or so of my term were just emotionally exhausting, like I was worried sick every single day,” she told Vogue in a story published Wednesday.

“It was like pure exhaustion,” she added. “I would go 12 hours without eating.”

But she said she was underestimated, particularly by her Republican colleagues, when she arrived in the US House nearly six months ago.

“I do think that when I first got here, almost everyone thought I was a lightweight,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Republicans really tried to f— with me, for lack of a better term.”

Read more: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemns Joe Biden for ‘waxing nostalgic’ about working with racist segregationists

Ocasio-Cortez regularly slams Republican critics online and has used her allotted time during congressional hearings to criticize her colleagues across the aisle.

But her critics are also quick to attack her, including earlier this month when GOP Rep. Liz Cheney said Ocasio-Cortez disgraced herself by calling US-run migrant detention facilities “concentration camps.”

But Ocasio-Cortez insisted that Republicans had stopped interrupting her during committee hearings in a show of respect – or fear.

“I let them have it, then it probably happened three or four times before they stopped interrupting me ever again,” she told Vogue.

Some of the most conservative Republicans are looking to borrow some of Ocasio-Cortez’s star power. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas tea party conservative, provoked a flurry of media attention last month when he announced his desire to work with the New Yorker on barring members of Congress from becoming lobbyists.

A few weeks later, he offered to work with Ocasio-Cortez to make birth control available over the counter.

Ocasio-Cortez called her unexpected alliance with Cruz “super bizarre” but later said she was “extraordinarily excited” to work across the aisle.

“You can be radical and you can be respectful – and I know that many people may think that that’s not cool. But I have a genuine desire to connect and to convince,” she told Vogue. “And I actually think that it’s more possible than people give credit for in this institution.”