U.S. NEWS

Ocasio-Cortez Responds To Tucker Carlson Smear: 'Lazy, Tired, Racist Trope'

The New York congresswoman spoke out after a guest on Fox News said her district was filled with garbage and immigrants. He has since apologized.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y) has labeled Fox News host Tucker Carlson a “white supremacist sympathizer” after a guest on his show said her congressional district was filled with garbage because it’s occupied by immigrants.

The New York congresswoman tweeted a video of Carlson’s segment Wednesday, explaining that she’d been torn on whether to appear on Fox News, with her main reason against it boiling down to “the fact that the ad revenue from it bankrolls a white supremacist sympathizer to broadcast an hour-long production of unmitigated racism, without any accountability whatsoever.”

“‘Immigrants are dirty’ is a lazy, tired, racist trope,” she added in a second tweet.

On Tuesday, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” hosted Seth Barron, an editor of the conservative City Journal. Carlson had brought him on for comment in a segment attacking Ocasio-Cortez for supposed hypocrisy over her support for a clean environment and Green New Deal while she represents “a district that’s dirty.” Carlson’s camera crew had done an “investigation” by shooting footage of garbage on the streets of the congresswoman’s district, which he aired.

Barron “explained” that New York’s 14th Congressional District had a lot of garbage on the streets in part because it’s “one of the least American districts in the country.”

“It’s occupied by relatively few American citizens. A very high percentage of her district is, in fact, illegal aliens,” he said, blaming the litter on immigrants living in basements that were “producing a lot of garbage that landlords don’t want thrown out normally.”

Though the latest census data states that 46% of the district is foreign-born, it was unclear how Barron had drawn the conclusion these residents were not U.S. citizens. After the segment aired, the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, ran a statistical analysis using data about litter from the American Housing Survey and census data, and found no statistically significant relationship between the percentage of a population that’s foreign-born and the amount of litter in that area. 

“If you’re going to go on television to complain about immigrants systematically littering in major cities, run a segment that claims as much, or make such a statement to support major changes in immigration law, you had better have some evidence supporting your position,” researchers Alex Nowrasteh and Andrew Forrester concluded.

On Wednesday, Barron issued an apology via a four-part tweet thread, saying that he “chose the wrong words” and was trying to make a point about immigrants not having access to affordable housing, which led to litter on the streets when landlords failed to collect trash from “illegal basement dwellings.”

“I didn’t do justice to a complex issue and I apologize,” he wrote.