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AOC: Twitter civility the determining factor in her decision to block online critics, dismisses comparison to President Trump’s actions

2019-08-31

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says her blocking of Twitter critics is more about civility than censorship. (Gregg Vigliotti/for New York Daily News)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says her blocking of Twitter critics is more about civility than censorship.

“There’s a distinction between disagreement and harassment,” the first-term Congresswoman said Saturday in the Bronx. “I completely am happy to engage with people who disagree ... from a place of open discourse and respect. But the difference is when someone approaches into that level of harassment, and it’s disappointing.”

Ocasio-Cortez suggested her trolls were simply following the lead of President Trump’s online behavior when she blocked less than 20 of her 5.2 million Twitter followers.

Trump “tends to harass the people who he finds to be a political opponent — but it doesn’t have to be that way,” she said. “I look forward to us getting an example of a country where that doesn’t have to be the norm.”

Earlier this week, the Knight First Amendment Institute wrote AOC asking her not to block anyone from her Twitter feed. The Democratic representative also drew a distinction between her handling of Twitter critics and an appeals court ruling that stopped Trump from blocking his opponents on the @realdonaldtrump account.

“The president, sitting in an executive seat, does have the ability to change policy overnight,” she said. “A member of Congress does not. Every single person in this country is a constituent of the president. My constituents are limited to the Bronx and Queens.”

The Department of Justice has asked a federal appeal court to reconsider the ruling against the president.

Ocasio-Cortez said one of her priorities when Congress goes back into session will be housing.

“We’re working on a suite of housing legislation on a federal level,” she said. “One of our goals is to really take a look at some of the great accomplishments that we had as a state here in New York ... and seeing how we can introduce that on a national level.”