Congressman Ron DeSantis grabbed a few national headlines Monday but not for any of his policies.
A video from one of his campaign events shows him saying: “When you look at this girl, Ocasio-Cortez, or whatever she is, I mean she’s in a totally different universe.” DeSantis is running for governor of Florida.
The video came from a Saturday campaign stop in Orange Park and was first reported by the Huffington Post.
In response to a request for comment, campaign spokesman, David Vasquez issued a statement that expanded on the context of the comments but did not address the “girl” remark.
DeSantis “was expanding on the importance of education and his focus on getting the Constitution back in the classroom,” he wrote. “Socialist Ocasio-Cortez is a textbook example of someone who doesn’t understand the basic principles of our Constitution.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, is a self-described Democratic Socialist, and she won the Democratic nomination for the House seat representing the Bronx and Queens boroughs in New York City. That upset nomination, which unseated longtime incumbent Joe Crowley, brought national attention and has made Ocasio-Cortez a liberal sensation.
She shot back on Twitter:
After that initial comment, DeSantis, 39, had harsh words for a recent PBS interview in which Ocasio-Cortez talked about the Israel-Palestine conflict. DeSantis is staunchly pro-Israel.
“It’s basically Socialism wrapped in ignorance,” he said. “She’s complaining about the occupation of Palestine ... You’re saying one of our best allies is occupying a country — there’s never been a Palestinian state.”
“You’re just repeating these canned, left-wing talking points and you’re somehow the savior of the Democratic party?” he added.
Watch the video here: