Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the brightest political star of the moment, would be a prized speaker at almost any college in the country. Come June, you might expect to see her at Yale, Harvard or Stanford, but as for now she has a standing invitation from Jerry Falwell Jr., one of President Trump’s most ardent backers, to speak at Liberty University, the evangelical college where he is president.
The freshman Democrat from New York, who is one of the most left-leaning members of the House, hasn’t responded yet, but Falwell extended an invitation to attend a Liberty University “convocation,” a weekly gathering of students that typically hosts Christian music stars, bestselling evangelical authors and conservative commentators — but in 2015 heard from a certain independent democratic socialist senator from Vermont.
The invitation, in the form of a tweet, came at the end of a convoluted Twitter exchange between Falwell and Ocasio-Cortez, kicked off by his speech last weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference. In the speech, he mocked an early draft of Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” which includes the goal of combatting climate change by, among other things, cutting back on cattle raising.
“I’ve got a hundred cows. You just let Alexandria Cortez show up at my house and try to take my cows away,” Falwell said.
Ocasio-Cortez responded by citing something Falwell had said at a Liberty convocation in 2015, mistakenly attributing it to the CPAC speech.
Falwell later clarified that by “those Muslims,” he was referring specifically to Islamic terrorists.
Seizing on Ocasio-Cortez’s mistake, Falwell Jr. responded by calling her “dumb” and “a liar.”
Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged her mistake on the date. The part of Falwell’s quote she rendered as “unintelligible” is difficult to make out in recordings of the event, but she did not dispute his account.
As more Twitter users continued to flag Falwell Jr.’s CPAC quip about his cows, Ocasio-Cortez returned to that subject.
Falwell seemed to seek to put the dispute to rest by extending an invitation for her to speak:
Liberty did indeed welcome Bernie Sanders in 2015, but its record on hearing different views is mixed. In 2008, the school kicked out its chapter of College Democrats, “a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by Liberty University.”
Ocasio-Cortez has yet to respond publicly to the invitation, and four hours after making it, Falwell Jr. returned to mocking her over his cows.
“I would just love to watch a 29 year old bartender from the Bronx
@AOC chase them,” Falwell Jr. said in a tweet. “That would be top notch entertainment for sure!”
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