Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s muted response to a woman who pushed the idea of “eating babies” as a way to stop climate change set Twitter alight.
The bizarre exchange took place on Thursday in Corona, New York during a town hall aimed at discussing the freshman congresswoman’s ‘A Just Society’ legislation.
A woman, wearing a T-shirt with the words “Eat the Children” on it, stood up to ask Ocasio-Cortez a question. Citing predictions by a “Swedish professor,” the woman stressed the importance of urgent action on climate change since “we only have a few months left.”
MORE: Ocasio-Cortez Declares ‘Climate Crisis’ After it Rains in DC — Gets Smacked Down by Meteorologist
“So I think your next campaign slogan has to be this: ‘We got to start eating babies! We don’t have enough time! There is too much CO2,” she said.
“All of you … you are a pollutant, too much CO2, we have to start now, please, you are so great, I’m so happy that you really are supporting New Green Deal, but it’s not enough, you know, even if we would bomb Russia, we still have too many people,” the woman added. “Too much pollution, so we have to get rid of the babies! That’s a big problem. We need to eat the babies!”
Ocasio-Cortez responded by thanking the woman for her question.
“We need to treat the climate crisis with the urgency it does present,” the freshman congresswoman added.
“Luckily we have more than a few months. We do need to hit net zero in several years. But I think we all need to understand that there are a lot of solutions that we have and that we can pursue and that if we act in a positive way there is space for hope,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“We are never beyond hope.”
Many of Ocasio-Cortez’s critics on Twitter took note of the fact that the New York Democrat avoided pushing back on the notion of eating babies as a possible solution to climate change.
AOC "yeah that's one way to go about it…but there are a few other options too?" lol her answer and stoic reaction is the story forget about the nutjob or putupjob whichever she was.
— Hammond politics (@hammondpolitics) October 4, 2019
“How hard is it to say “DON’T EAT BABIES, THAT IS NOT AN OPTION CRAZY LADY!” tweeted conservative Twitter personality Robby Starbuck.
Why didn’t Cortez say NO WE DON’T NEED TO EAT BABIES
— Christopher Romano (@cjdmromano) October 4, 2019
Other Twitter users suggested the woman was a GOP plant or mentally ill:
This seems like a plant. The fact that they actually had a "Eat the Children" T-Shirt made seems like the giveaway. I say this as someone who does not support the Green New Deal or AOC.
— Paul ?? (@freezelin) October 4, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter after video of the town hall confrontation went viral. The progressive lawmaker explained that she was “concerned” that the woman might be “suffering from a mental condition” and wanted to handle the situation “compassionately.”
This person may have been suffering from a mental condition and it’s not okay that the right-wing is mocking her and potentially make her condition or crisis worse. Be a decent human being and knock it off.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 4, 2019
“Let’s not mock or make a spectacle. &let’s work on Medicare for All!” she added.
“Eco-anxiety” is real, psychologists say
Last week, British psychologists told Reuters that children’s increasing anxiety and grief about climate change should be addressed.
Adults must acknowledge young people’s fears and offer them support in taking positive action such as joining global climate strikes, said the Climate Psychology Alliance, a group of psychologists and researchers.
MORE: Greta Thunberg’s Personality Might Cost Her the Nobel Peace Prize, Experts Say
“Children are saying things like, ‘Climate change is here as revenge, you’ve messed up the climate and nature is fighting back through climate change,’” said Caroline Hickman, a teaching fellow at the University of Bath and a CPA executive.
Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg has led a worldwide youth movement demanding action on global warming through weekly “Fridays for Future” protests.
But some critics argue that militant proponents of climate change, like Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg, are alarmists whose doomsaying is unhealthy and misguided.
Responding to the events at Thursday’s town hall, meteorologist Ryan Maute said on Twitter that the woman who confronted Ocasio-Cortez was “mentally ill.”
“The recent climate ‘doomism’ from scientists and activists has caused people to go insane believing they are going to die soon. Worse yet, kids are being brainwashed with this insanity,” he added.
REUTERS contributed to this report.