Prior to her testimony Friday in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on the conditions of border detention facilities, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made the unusual request of requesting to be sworn in.
House Oversight chairman Elijah Cummings granted the New York Democrat her wish while noting that it wasn’t something that is normally required.
“We usually don’t require a swearing in,” Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, told Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez was there to testify about a recent visit to migrant detention facilities at the border, where she described conditions as inhumane.
“What’s worse, Mr. Chairman, was the fact that there were American flags hanging all over these facilities,” she said during her testimony. “That children were being separated from their parents in front of the American flag, that women were being called these names under an American flag, we cannot allow for this.”
In a tweet explaining her request to be sworn in before testifying, Ocasio-Cortez said she was directly addressing accusations from Republicans that she had lied about what she’d seen at the border.
“GOP has been stating that I am lying about the translated accounts of migrants at the border, particularly about the fact that women were drinking out of a toilet bowl,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
During her testimony, she stood by her claim that border patrol agents were forcing migrants to drink from toilet bowls.
The reaction to an unorthodox request from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Ocasio-Cortez, who has compared the detention facilities to concentration camps in recent weeks, has been rallying for changes to what she sees as inhumane conditions for migrants.
But critics have accused her of grandstanding.
“Time and time again, she chooses photo-ops over actually legislating. Just look at today’s hearing. She asked to be sworn in prior to testifying before the Oversight Committee — something that never happens for members of Congress,” a source told the Washington Examiner, in reference to the progressive Democrat’s testimony on Friday.
“But that doesn’t matter to her. She just needed something to tweet. It just shows that Democrats are obsessed with political theater and attacking the president, rather than solving real problems facing the American people,” the source added.
Meanwhile, many conservatives mocked the freshman congresswoman on social media.
Matt Walsh, a conservative pundit and Daily Wire contributor, described Ocasio-Cortez as “Congresswoman Instagram.”
At a hearing today, @AOC asked to be unnecessarily sworn in just so she could get this picture right here. I think we should start calling her Congresswoman Instagram from now on. The only thing she's ever worried about is the photo op. pic.twitter.com/wt75SlfJCq
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) July 12, 2019
Conservative social media strategist Caleb Hull used a video mashup to ridicule the progressive lawmaker:
This clip of AOC begging to be sworn in is so much better an an episode of Veep.
(I had to do it) pic.twitter.com/ovI2bgMibU
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) July 12, 2019
Joe Perticone, a political reporter for Business Insider, argued that Ocasio-Cortez’s justification for being sworn in didn’t make sense, since lying to Congress is against the law regardless.
It's already a crime to lie to Congress to begin with. So hard to see what this added other than the imagery of being sworn in. pic.twitter.com/Mf4JUSry6U
— joe (@JoePerticone) July 12, 2019
In late June, year-old photos of Ocasio-Cortez crying while visiting the southern border were revealed to have been shot over a mostly empty stretch of asphalt.