Squad queen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been at war with fellow Democrat Eric Adams for the last year after he warned supporters to beware of their party’s woke fringe.
Adams, a former cop and centrist, reportedly infuriated AOC – a hardline progressive who soapboxes about defunding the police – with a speech at a fundraiser in July 2021 that Ocasio-Cortez watched in-person.
The pair haven’t had any one-on-one time since, the New York Times reported, even though they’re two of their parties most high profile figures.
‘I’m no longer running against candidates,’ Adams, whose main campaign tenets were being tougher on crime and bolstering the city’s police force, said at the time. ‘I’m running against a movement. All across the country, the [Democratic Socialists of America] socialists are mobilizing to stop Eric Adams.
‘They realize that if I’m successful, we’re going to start the process of regaining control of our cities,’ the former police captain, who campaigned on tenets of addressing New York’s crime problem and putting repeat offenders behind bars.
Fueling the fire of their feud, observers say, is the fact that both have something to gain by having a foil from within the currently divided Democratic Party, as both seek to bolster their respective, vastly different audiences and gain fame in the political sphere.
Political outsider Adams, who served as a captain for the NYPD and then the city’s senate for roughly six years, recently attended the highly exclusive MET Gala – which costs $35,000 to attend – and has sought to gain support from the party’s more moderate members.
Since being sworn in in January, the new mayor has been seen partying with Cara Delevingne and rapper A$AP Rocky, and nixed vaccine mandates for athletes in a bid to gain favor with citizens peeved over pandemic policies that saw unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving barred from playing at the Barclay Center.
AOC, meanwhile – who has seen a meteoric rise since being elected to congress in 2019 – is widely-regarded as America’s most prominent Democrat Socialist of America, showing support for radically left-leaning policies and movement such as Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police.
She is the leader of the so-called ‘Squad’ of hard-left Democrats, which also includes Reps Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib. The rep has also sought to achieve star status through a marked presence on social media, where she has tens of millions of followers.
New York politicians Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Eric Adams have not spoken in nearly a year, reps for the at-odds Democrats have revealed, despite their shared place in the currently polarized political party
The strong words – which were reiterated by Adams last week during an interview with ABC in which he blamed woke progressive policies for the city’s crime rate – rubbed Ocasio-Cortez the wrong way, her reps said, spurring the current conflict.
Since then, officials told The Times, the friction between the two had continued, despite their shared political party.
The Dems have become increasingly fractured in recent years, with AOC and her fans claiming centrists like Adams are Republicans in all but name.
Meanwhile, Adams and his supporters say AOC and her posse have dragged the party too far left on issues including race, gender and policing.
They fear an anticipated midterms wipeout for the Democrats will be the result of traditional Democrat voters turning their back on the party’s woke excesses.
‘They are fundamentally arguing from the two sides of the Democratic Party,’ Jefrey Pollock, a veteran Democratic strategist, told The Times of the tension and ongoing estrangement between the pair. ‘And therefore, they are bound to be in conflict.’
True to form, Ocasio-Cortez – and Adams, 61, have had no public events together. Reps for both teams said the pair have not spoken since the July 2021 fundraiser, where Ocasio-Cortez was in attendance.
The pair have also managed to express their disdain for each other despite not speaking directly, trading barbs and hurling shade on social media and during public appearances.
In September, for instance, Adams slammed the controversial ‘Tax the Rich’ dress Ocasio-Cortez donned during last fall’s Met Gala as irresponsible, saying it sent the wrong message to the city’s business community, and wealthy residents whom pay the lion’s share of the city’s income tax.
‘I’m a big believer that, you know, I think AOC and I believe we both want the same things, we just have different pathways to get there,’ he told Squawk Box co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin at the time, pointing out the commonalities between the two and their respective upbringings.
In September, Ocasio-Cortez earned the chagrin of a them campaigning Adams after she donned her infamous ‘Tax the Rich’ dress during last fall’s Met Gala. Adams called the wardrobe choice irresponsible and said it sent the wrong message to the city’s residents
Adams took another shot at the self-proclaimed democratic socialist through his wardrobe choice at this year’s Met Gala, where he donned a Tuxedo emblazoned with a different message – ‘End Gun Violence’ – one more in line with the mayor’s more moderate beliefs
‘Her mother was a domestic worker, or did things on that level, [and] so was my mother.
‘But when you talk about just blanketly saying tax [the] rich in this city, we may have 8.8 million people, but 65,000 pay 51 percent of our income taxes,’ Adams continued.
‘And if you say to those 65,000 to leave, then we’re not going to have the firefighters, the teachers – all of those basic things.’
Adams took another shot at the self-proclaimed democratic socialist through his wardrobe choice at this year’s Met Gala, where he donned a Tuxedo emblazoned with a different message – ‘End Gun Violence’ – one more in line with the mayor’s more moderate beliefs.
In January, days after Adams was sworn into office, Ocasio-Cortez immediately honed in on the new mayor, criticizing him for referring to some city workers as ‘low skill’ in a speech where the newly crowned mayor pushed for office workers working remotely during the pandemic to get back to work to help save other businesses.
‘My low-skilled workers, my cooks, my dishwashers, my messengers, my shoe-shine people, those who work at Dunkin’ Donuts – they don’t have the academic skills to sit in the corner office,’ Adams said, fighting for the city to stay open.
In response, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: ‘The suggestion that any job is “low skill” is a myth perpetuated by wealthy interests to justify inhumane working conditions, little/no healthcare, and low wages.’
In January, days after Adams was sworn into office, Ocasio-Cortez immediately honed in on the new mayor, criticizing him for referring to some city workers as ‘low skill’ in a speech where the newly crowned mayor pushed for office workers working remotely during the pandemic to get back to work to help save other businesses
‘Plus being a waitress has made me and many others *better* at our jobs than those who’ve never known that life,’ the self-professed democratic socialist added.
Adams then shot back by saying that the second-term congresswoman as well as her millions of followers were acting like the ‘word police.’
‘I know they’re perfect, and there’s not much I can do about that,’ the mayor sarcastically sniped in an interview addressing Oscasio-Cortez’ comments. ‘I can only aspire one day to be as perfect as they are.’
The rift between the pair – while paling in comparison to other instances in-fighting seen by politicians of the same party, such as the highly-publicized animosity between former Mayor Bill de Blasio and disgraced governor Andrew M. Cuomo – could spell trouble for the Democratic Party, as members strive for party unity.
“We are in a society where we have the words police,” says @NYCMayor responding to @AOC. “I was a dishwasher. I went to school at night…low wage workers–they can’t telecommute. They need the support of those who are part of our financial ecosystem.” pic.twitter.com/vpDZGIMkrU
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) January 6, 2022
And despite both politicians being people of color raised in the Tri-State Area by working-class families – former bartender Ocasio-Cortez born in the Bronx and raised in Westchester; and Adams raised in Brownsville, Brooklyn – the differing demographics and opinions of their supporters has the two trying to appeal to largely different crowds.
Adams, who campaigned on cleaning up the city streets, bolstering the city’s embattled police force, and getting the city back to work after the pandemic, has a base rooted in the city’s working class; while Ocasio-Cortez appeals to the state’s college-educated liberals – and her fringe democratic socialist followers.
‘The truth is, Adams won without them,’ former de Blasio aide Peter Ragone told the Times of the generally younger, more progressive citizens who support Ocasio-Cortez.
‘And if he’s going to expand his base beyond working-class African American and Latino, it’s not going to be progressives.’
The stark difference in ideologies between the two Democrats was capsulated in an exchange last June, when Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Defund the Police advocated Maya Wiley over Adams during the Democratic mayoral primary, arguing that she was best positioned to lead ‘a city for and by working people.’
Adams quickly offered a tart retort, accusing Ocasio-Cortez and Wiley of seeking to ‘shrink the police force at a time when Black and brown babies are being shot in our streets,’ and while hate crimes were increasing.
‘They are putting slogans and politics in front of public safety and would endanger the lives of New Yorkers.’