Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says a potential Joe Biden 2020 campaign "does not particularly animate me"

"I haven’t endorsed anybody, but I’m very supportive of Bernie," the congresswoman from New York adds

By Matthew Rozsa

Published April 15, 2019 11:09AM (EDT)

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

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.,  is not animated by the looming possibility of a campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination from former Vice President Joe Biden.

"I truly do not have one yet. I truly do not," Ocasio-Cortez told the Yahoo News podcast Skullduggery when asked about her preferred Democratic presidential candidate. Although she emphasized she would "support whoever the Democratic nominee is," the New York congresswoman made it clear she was lukewarm about the prospect of that person being Biden.

"That does not particularly animate me right now," Ocasio-Cortez said. After explaining that she would have "a lot of issues" with Biden running for president, she expressed a belief that enthusiasm for Biden was linked to nostalgia for former President Barack Obama's administration.

"I can understand why people would be excited by that — this idea that we can go back to the good old days with Obama, with Obama’s vice president" Ocasio-Cortez explained. "There’s an emotional element to that, but I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward."

However, Ocasio-Cortez did offer flattering words about the two most outspoken progressive candidates in the field — Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

"I’m very supportive of Bernie’s run . . . I haven’t endorsed anybody, but I’m very supportive of Bernie," Ocasio-Cortez explained. She added that "I also think what Elizabeth Warren has been bringing to the table is . . . truly remarkable, truly remarkable and transformational."

The congresswoman dismissed having put any thought into running for higher office herself in the future, telling Yahoo that "I just want to be most useful, and I’m not trying to kind of impose some personal ambition. I think that if a window opens and I feel like I can do well, and do better and offer more to people, then I would consider it. But . . . I don’t have like a 10-year plan or a five-year plan or anything."

There have been a number of concerns expressed by liberals surrounding a potential Biden candidacy as the former vice president finds himself topping 2020 polls. From a policy standpoint, these include Biden's past support of a draconian crime bill that is widely regarded as having exacerbated America's mass incarceration problem, his opposition to antitrust legislation, his support for former President Ronald Reagan's tax cuts, his support for former President Bill Clinton's financial deregulation, his willingness to back a freeze in Social Security spending and his past opposition to school busing in order to bring about desegregation. In terms of his personal background, the former vice president has recently found himself accused of unwanted touching by multiple women.

Ocasio-Cortez has also been the subject of some controversy within the Democratic Party. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CBS News' "60 Minutes" Sunday that the progressive wing of her caucus that was supposedly in rebellion against moderates was "like five people." She also took a veiled shot at Democrats who identify as democratic socialists or socialists.

"I do reject socialism as an economic system. If people have that view, that's their view," Pelosi told Lesley Stahl. "That is not the view of the Democratic Party."

"By and large, whatever orientation [House Democrats] came to Congress with, they know that we have to hold the center," she added. "That we have to go down the mainstream."

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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