Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) swiped at Republicans on Sunday, likening them to “The Office” character Dwight Schrute, a power-hungry, mustard yellow shirt-wearing paper salesman who lives on a beet farm.
The remark capped off a Twitter thread started on Saturday in which the congresswoman explained her philosophy on what it means to raise taxes on the wealthy.
“When we say ‘tax the rich,’ we mean nesting-doll yacht rich,” she said. “For-profit prison rich. Betsy DeVos, student-loan-shark rich. Trick-the-country-into-war rich. Subsidizing-workforce-w-food-stamps rich. Because THAT kind of rich is simply not good for society, & it’s like 10 people.”
Several commenters jumped on this statement by zeroing in on “10 people,” suggesting that taxing just 10 people to fund her proposed policies would be outrageous.
Backing up Ocasio-Cortez, Philadelphia-based attorney Max Kennerly chided those critics, noting that the 10 richest Americans collectively hold hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth. While his number was slightly higher than the under $700 billion that can be calculated with 2018 lists from Forbes and Money magazine, the general point stands.
Taking the math a step further, Kennerly added up the wealth of the 14 richest American families, saying that “they’re worth more than 60% of Americans combined.”
In a supportive retweet, Ocasio-Cortez shook her head at what she felt was Republicans’ inability to understand hyperbole, comparing commenters’ response here to how the party is responding to arguments on the urgent need to address climate change.
Ocasio-Cortez is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, legislation she introduced to tackle climate change before 2030, which is when a United Nations panel says it will present a runaway danger.
Only those with “the social intelligence of a sea sponge” would take statements about the “world ending in 12 years” seriously, she said.
“This is a technique of the GOP, to take dry humor + sarcasm literally and ‘fact check’ it. ... But the GOP is basically Dwight from The Office so who knows,” she added.
Dwight, who works at Scranton, Pennsylvania’s fictional Dunder Mifflin paper company, is known to “Office” viewers as an overly serious know-it-all who derives pleasure from stomping out his competition.
According to the Fandom page for his character, actor Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight, has referred to him as a “fascist nerd” and “someone who does not hate the system, but has a deep and abiding love for it.”