Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says system that allows billionaires is ‘immoral’ after telling Stephen Colbert 'I give zero f****'

Comments made at event to honour Martin Luther King

Andrew Buncombe
Tuesday 22 January 2019 19:22 GMT
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she believes a system that allows people to become billionaires is 'immoral'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has claimed any economic system that allows people to become billionaires is “immoral”, while dismissing critics in her own party who believe she is too outspoken.

Appearing in New York’s Harlem neighbourhood, a stronghold of African American culture, she said billionaires themselves were not the problem, but rather the system that created them. She was speaking at an event to honour Martin Luther King Jr, whose social activism during the 1960s increasingly included an economic element.

“I do think that a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong,” said the New York congresswoman, according to the New York Post.

“I don’t think that necessarily means that all billionaires are immoral. It’s not to say someone like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet are immoral people. I don’t believe that.

“I think that it’s wrong that a vast majority of the country does not make a living great wage. I think it’s wrong that you can work 100 hours and not feed your kids. I think it’s wrong that corporations like Walmart and Amazon can get paid.“

The 29-year-old self-styled Democrat socialist, appeared at MLK Now, an event hosted at the Riverside Church where she spoke alongside journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates.

During her 2018 campaign for congress, she backed a national federal minimum wage, universal health care and supported the so-called Green New Deal, a plan that seeks to transform the nation’s energy sources and create a 100 per cent renewable electricity grid.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez helps raise money for transgender charity Mermaids by dropping in on Donkey Kong 64 Twitch livestream

“Are we comfortable with a society where someone can have a helipad while [New York City] is experiencing the highest rates of people experiencing homelessness since the great depression,” she asked, referring to the planned helipad for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the company’s new headquarters.

Ms Cortez has been an opponent of the plan for the e-retail and technology giant to build its second headquarters in the Long Island City neighbourhood.

Later on Monday, Ms Ocasio-Cortez appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where she was asked about reports some in her party have become jealous and frustrated with the attention she has received, and have suggested she “wait your turn” and “don’t make waves”.

Colbert asked her: “I want to ask this question in a respectful manner, knowing also that you’re from Queens, so you will understand this question. On a scale from zero to some, how many ****s do you give?”

She replied: “I think it’s zero”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in