Ocasio-Cortez condemns college Republicans' email calling her a domestic terrorist

Tom McCarthy in New York


A fundraising email sent by a college Republican group branding the US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a “domestic terrorist” drew a sharp rebuke from the congresswoman, who warned that similar rhetorical attacks had in the past resulted in a spike in death threats against her.

An email sent on Tuesday by Tom Ferrall, chairman of the Ohio Federation of College Republicans, bore the subject line “AOC is a domestic terrorist” and asked recipients to donate to his group. Dave Levinthal, an editor at the Center for Public Integrity, on Wednesday afternoon shared a screenshot of the email on Twitter.

“My fellow students often tell me that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a ‘role model’ and that America should be more like socialist Europe,” the email, which appeared not to use the word “terrorist” elsewhere, read in part. It told recipients: “We need your help to stop the brainwashing!”

The email fit the template for fundraising emails by similar groups.

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“This puts me in danger every time,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old freshman congresswoman whose outspoken progressive views, youth, nimble social media presence and all-around star power yet perhaps do not explain the extent to which she has become a bugbear for the right.

“Almost every time this uncalled for rhetoric gets blasted by conserv. grps,” she tweeted, “we get a spike in death threats to refer to Capitol Police.”

After Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about it, the Ohio Federation of College Republicans distanced itself from the email, calling it “unauthorized” without explaining what that meant. “We apologize to Congresswoman Ocascio-Cortez [sic] for the use of unacceptable language in this email, and we do not approve of the message conveyed,” the group said.

Ferrall, whose name was on the email’s signature line, told the Guardian in an email that his group would have no comment beyond the statement.

Capitol Police told the Guardian in a statement it could not discuss how it carries out is protective responsibilities for Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional district in Queens, New York, is 400 miles from the Ohio border. The bellwether state voted for Donald Trump by eight points over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.