Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Lawmaker mocks college dance critics

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing as a studentImage source, Howard Thurman Center
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The video of Ms Ocasio-Cortez dancing has more than eight million views on Twitter

In the eyes of some social media critics the United States' youngest-ever congresswoman can do no right.

To a lengthy list of past misdemeanours, including her clothes and not being rich, can now be added the grievous crime of dancing while in college.

A day before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was officially sworn-in, near decade-old footage of the congresswoman dancing as a student at Boston University re-emerged on Twitter, apparently in an effort to embarrass her.

On Friday Ms Ocasio-Cortez posted a new video of her dancing outside her new office in the halls of Congress to the tune of War by Edwin Starr.

"I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous. Wait till they find out Congresswomen dance too!" she wrote, referring to the Republican Party.

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The original post has been viewed more than 8 million times.

Image source, Twitter

"Here is America's favourite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is," one right-wing Twitter account, @AnonymousQ1776, wrote as they shared the clip. The account, which appears to reference the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory, has since been removed.

"After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is forced out of office after one term she can go dance on a stage that has a pole," said another.

But the criticism prompted a much larger wave of support for the congresswoman online.

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"[Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] is officially done," comedian Patton Oswalt joked.

"She'll never recover from the world seeing her dancing adorably and having fun with her friends."

"I want Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to give me dance lessons," Star Trek actor George Takei tweeted, while actor Russell Crowe declared her "fantastic".

The video of Ms Ocasio-Cortez was compiled from a longer video featuring Boston University students. The video was posted to YouTube in 2010, when Ms Ocasio-Cortez was an undergraduate.

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The video was part of a meme circulating at the time.

Participants, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other students at Boston University, emulated the dance from 1980s movie The Breakfast Club in a mash-up featuring the song Lisztomania, by French indie band Phoenix.

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In an interview with the Hill, the new lawmaker said "it is not normal for elected officials to have a reputation for dancing well and I'm happy to be one".

"It is unsurprising to me that Republicans would think having fun should be disqualifying or illegal," she added.

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Since beating veteran Democrat Joe Crowley in a New York congressional primary in July 2018, Ms Ocasio-Cortez has been subject to unusually intense scrutiny from some conservative critics, particularly online.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez has spoken of her financial struggles, and many of those conservative critics seek to portray her concerns as disingenuous.

In November a Washington Examiner journalist was criticised for a "sexist" tweet, subsequently deleted, in which he posted a picture of Ms Ocasio-Cortez from behind.

"I'll tell you something: that jacket and coat don't look like a girl who struggles," he wrote.

Fox and Friends host Katie Pavlich said Ms Ocasio-Cortez represented "hypocrisy at its best" and had "expensive tastes for a socialist" after she wore expensive clothes, which she did not keep, for a magazine photo shoot.

More recently, right-wing political website the Gateway Pundit has published images from Ms Ocasio-Cortez's high school yearbook in an effort to portray her as part of a wealthy elite.

However, the congresswoman had less than $7,000 (£5,500) in savings, her director of communications told CNBC in November.

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