Rightwing blogger launches gofundme for AOC's Puerto Rico grandmother in latest personal attack

The fundraiser has collected nearly $60,000 as of Friday evening

Graig Graziosi
Saturday 05 June 2021 02:16 BST
San Juan mayor:'Puerto Rico is Trump's Katrina'

Matt Walsh, a blogger for The Daily Wire has taken to trolling Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by raising money for her grandmother's home in Puerto Rico.

The strange saga began when Ms Ocasio-Cortez posted a message on Twitter criticising the Trump administration for blocking relief money meant to help Puerto Ricans following Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Donald Trump used the hurricane as a photo op during his administration, famously tossing rolls of paper towels like he was shooting basketballs into a crowd of Puerto Ricans who had gathered after the storm.

To illustrate the ongoing struggles Puerto Ricans face, she shared an image of her grandmother's home in Puerto Rico, which she said she had recently visited. The photos show drooping ceiling slats and buckets lined up on the tile floor presumably meant to catch water from the dripping ceiling.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez said that many Puerto Ricans were dealing with similar - or worse - situations, and noted that it was not only the Trump administration that dropped the ball, but also local policies and authorities in Puerto Rico. She called for changes to policies and audits of relief spending and for more recovery funding to be sent to people in need.

She also noted that her grandmother was fine and had somewhere else she could stay while repairs were underway at her home.

"And for the record - my abuela is doing okay. It’s not about us, but about what’s happening to Puerto Rican’s across the island," she wrote. "She had a place to go to and be cared for - what about the thousands of people who don’t?"

Mr Walsh, seeing an opportunity to attack Ms Ocasio-Cortez - a perennial target for conservatives - said it was "shameful that you live in luxury while allowing your own grandmother to suffer in these squalid conditions."

Ms Ocasio-Cortez fired back at the blogger, claiming he could not possibly understand the relationship between her and her grandmother.

"You don’t even have a concept for the role that 1st-gen, first-born daughters play in their families," she wrote. “My abuela is okay. But instead of only caring for mine & letting others suffer, I’m calling attention to the systemic injustices you seem totally fine w/ in having a US colony."

In an attempt to shame Ms Ocasio-Cortez, Mr Walsh then started a gofundme to raise money for the congresswoman's grandmother's home repairs, paying just under $500 into the fundraiser himself.

Ben Shaprio, another conservative commenter who regularly attacks the congresswoman, also donated $499 and called on other conservative media personalities to do the same.

The fundraiser's goal of just under $50,000 was met and exceeded by Friday afternoon, currently sitting at just under $60,000.

"Hi @AOC, we are raising money to help your abuela. It's been inspiring to see the response so far. Can you send me a DM so that I can get the necessary information to ensure that this money makes it to your grandmother? Thank you!" he wrote on Twitter.

Mr Walsh's trolling - even if it does help the congresswoman's grandmother - blankets over the point Ms Ocasio-Cortez made concerning the broader and more systemic issues keeping many residents of the island in similar or worse conditions.

Unlike her grandmother, many of the affected in Puerto Rico do not have places where they can shelter while waiting for home repairs.

The blogger did not discuss or address that issue in any of his posts, choosing instead to focus on Ms Ocasio-Cortez.

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