College GOP group apologizes for email calling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a "domestic terrorist"

Ohio College Republican Federation faced harsh criticism over an email that called AOC a "domestic terrorist"

By Matthew Rozsa

Published April 11, 2019 11:44AM (EDT)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Getty/Mandel Ngan)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Getty/Mandel Ngan)

The Ohio College Republican Federation has apologized for a fundraising email referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., as a "domestic terrorist."

"The OCRF does not condone the unauthorized email sent out in our name," the group tweeted from its official account. "We apologize to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez for the use of unacceptable language in this email, and we do not approve of the message conveyed."

The group responded to a tweet by Ocasio-Cortez, in which the legislator questioned her safety following the inflammatory rhetoric.

"This puts me in danger every time. Almost every time this uncalled for rhetoric gets blasted by conserv. grps, we get a spike in death threats to refer to Capitol Police. Multiple ppl have been arrested trying to harm me, Ilhan, & others. @GOP, what’s it going to take to stop?" Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

The subject line of the email in question read, "AOC is a domestic terrorist." In the body of the email, the organization wrote, "My peers are being brainwashed on a daily basis by Marxist professors who hate America and capitalism. My fellow students often tell me that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a 'role model' and that America should be more like socialist Europe. We need your help to stop the brainwashing!"

The fundraising letter concluded, "Your vital contribution is needed to educate young people about conservative ideas and promote President Trump's agenda on college campuses." It was attributed to Tom Ferrall, who is the chairman of the Ohio Federation of College Republicans.

Ocasio-Cortez is not the only Democratic congresswoman to argue this week that the rhetoric used against her has placed her life in danger. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., made a similar point in a Wednesday tweet in the wake of a "Fox & Friends" segment criticizing her comments about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"This is dangerous incitement, given the death threats I face. I hope leaders of both parties will join me in condemning it," Omar wrote on Twitter. "My love and commitment to our country and that of my colleagues should never be in question. We are ALL Americans!"

"Fox & Friends" co-anchor Brian Kilmeade said, "You have to wonder if she's an American first." Kilmeade's apparent suggestion of dual loyalty was issued in response to a speech by Omar, in which the congresswoman said for "far too long, we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. And, frankly, I'm tired of it. And every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties."

Kilmeade reacted to the controversy that followed by saying he had not intended to question whether Rep. Omar was an American.

"I am questioning how any American, let alone a United States Congresswoman, could downplay the 9/11 attacks," the Fox News host later tweeted.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Alexandria Ocasio-cortez All Salon Aoc Ilhan Omar News & Politics Ohio College Republican Federation