Meghan McCain confronts Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about "Bernie Bros": "He has a real problem"

"How do you feel that he’s attached to this deeply misogynistic . . . sector of people?"

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published February 20, 2020 10:15AM (EST)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Meghan McCain on "The View" (ABC)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Meghan McCain on "The View" (ABC)

Co-host Meghan McCain confronted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on "The View" Wednesday about her support for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., despite allegations of misogyny against his supporters.

"The one thing that connects women on the left and women on the right I have found . . . is the abuse that we have all been subjected to by Bernie Bros," McCain told the freshman. "It is by far, of anything I've ever seen in my entire life, the most violent, the most misogynistic, the most sexist, the most harmful. My mother has cried over doctored photos Bernie brothers have sent me, and I'm just one story."

"He has a real problem, and I don't think he is doing enough to tamper it down. If it were anyone, I would say, 'This has no representative of me. It's disgusting. It's vitriolic.' And every time I see him talk about it, he's like: 'Doesn't represent me. Move on.' You're an extremely powerful woman," McCain added. "How do you feel that he's attached to this deeply misogynistic—and I would go so far as to say violent—sector of people?" 

The term "Bernie Bros" refers to supporters of Sanders who allegedly engage in such hateful behavior online.

Ocasio-Cortez, who officially endorsed Sanders' campaign in October, told McCain that "internet culture can often be very toxic, and whether we are cognizant of it or not, it nearly always concentrates on women, people of color, queer people. And we experience the brunt of it."

She added that the Sanders campaign will "always reject hate, reject vitriol and denounce that kind of behavior" but pointed out that because of "the amount of anonymous activity that happens on the internet," it can be "difficult to control when you have like a Twitter handle with a bunch of numbers on it with two followers that are lobbing vitriol at you, we don't know where that comes from."

When McCain asked what Sanders had done to address the problem, Ocasio-Cortez said that "he works very hard" and the campaign had sent out "messaging emails." She also envoked her own experiences with online harassment, pointing to a group of Customs & Border Protection agents who created a Facebook page, which shared a doctored photograph of her being forced to perform oral sex on the president.

"He's got to do more. He's got to stand up and say it every day, if he needs to: 'Stop this. We're not accepting it. It's not good for us,'" co-host Whoopi Goldberg chimed in.

"Yeah," Ocasio-Cortez nodded. "For sure."

Earlier in the interview, McCain expressed her hope to Ocasio-Cortez that the two would "find a little more middle ground" about the issue after disagreeing about Sanders' proposal for "Medicare for All."

"I feel like you're the bogey woman of the right, and I'm the bogey woman of the left," McCain said as she greeted Ocasio-Cortez. "So it's interesting to be talking to you."

As Salon's Keith Spencer pointed out earlier this month, the term "Bernie Bro" does not accurately reflect the diverse coalition backing Sanders. Though the Bernie Bro stereotype assumes that most Sanders supporters are "entitled, pushy young millennial men," Spencer noted that "young women make up more of Sanders' base than men" and "has taken in the most money from women."

Though McCain identifies as a conservative, she has been willing to criticize President Donald Trump, particularly when he has attacked her late father. After the president reportedly instructed the U.S. Navy to obscure the warship USS John S. McCain prior to the president's visit to Japan, McCain said that "the president's actions have consequences. And when you repeatedly are attacking my father . . . it creates a culture in the military where people are clearly fearful to show my father's name in one way or another. That is what started this chain of events." 

Watch the full clip below via YouTube:

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Alexandria Ocasio-cortez Bernie Bros Bernie Sanders Clip Election 2020 Meghan Mccain The View