Candace Owens was so inspired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s viral photos at the southern border that she staged a photoshoot of her own.
On Thursday, the conservative activist tweeted three recreations of the photos, which were taken of the New York Democrat last year during a protest of the Trump administration’s migrant detention policies.
“I decided to stage a photoshoot just like @AOC!” Owens declared.
Indeed, like Ocasio-Cortez before her, Owens wore all white and stood against a chain-link fence, alternately looking morosely into the camera and holding her head in her hands. She helpfully posted each photo alongside the one that inspired it.
But whereas Ocasio-Cortez was photographed outside a migrant detention center in Texas, Owens said she was posing “outside an inner-city school where the conditions are abhorrent and the majority of black AMERICAN boys can’t pass a basic reading exam.”
“Maybe the liberal media will give this epidemic some attention now? #BLEXIT,” she added, touting her movement for black Americans to exit the Democratic Party.
I decided to stage a photoshoot just like @AOC!
Except I’m outside of an inner-city school where the conditions are abhorrent and the majority of black AMERICAN boys can’t pass a basic reading exam.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) June 27, 2019
In just a few hours, the post got some 45,000 likes and 15,000 retweets.
Owens’ commentary echoed her longstanding complaints that the Democrats are driven by a cynical political calculus. Essentially, she has argued, the party seeks to promote unrestrained immigration in the belief that the new arrivals will bolster its electoral clout.
At the same time, Owens, who hosts a Prager U talk show, has accused the Democrats of seeking to keep black Americans on a “plantation” with government handouts and an ideology of victimhood.
She has characterize the “mainstream media” as effectively an extension of the left.
Is Candace Owens “just like” Ocasio-Cortez?
Owen’s made-for-Twitter student came amid renewed liberal outrage over President Donald Trump’s hardline approach to immigration.
Ocasio-Cortez has helped enflame passions by comparing migrant detention centers on the U.S.-Mexico border to “concentration camps.” On Tuesday, she retweeted the photos of her crying at the border along with a call to action.
“I’ll never forget this, because it was the moment I saw with my own eyes that the America I love was becoming a nation that steals refugee children from their parents,& caged them,” she said. “More kids died after this. To date, no one has been held accountable.”
“We need to save these kids,” she urged.
I’ll never forget this, because it was the moment I saw with my own eyes that the America I love was becoming a nation that steals refugee children from their parents,& caged them.
More kids died after this. To date, no one has been held accountable.
We need to save these kids. https://t.co/HhdMqc5zML
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 25, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez’s fans praised the photos for capturing the pathos and passion that have helped make the congresswoman a progressive superstar. The post accumulated some 205,000 likes and 58,000 retweets.
On the other hand, critics derided her for grandstanding, with some suggesting the photos were “staged’
Looks like a pre-planned photo opp!
— Matt (@mattdelong90) June 25, 2019
A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday dismissed the backlash as “right wing garbage.”
“I cannot control what kind of right-wing garbage shows up on the bottom of the posts,” he told The Hill, adding that comments alleging the photos were fake or staged are “in no way related to reality or truth.”
Seeing another angle
However, on Wednesday, eagle-eyed Grabien reporter Tom Elliot provided new photographic support for Ocasio-Cortez-skeptics. He tweeted a pair of archival images from the Texas protest showing that Ocasio-Cortez had not been gazing not upon horrific suffering by migrant children, but rather into an almost entirely vacant parking lot.
“Apparently she was crying about the lack of migrant children for her photo op,” Elliot joked.
Searched Grabien’s PhotoBank and found these alternate angle pics of @AOC where her sad-face pics were shot. Apparently she was crying about the lack of migrant children for her photo op. pic.twitter.com/8FMB8OQR6K
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 26, 2019
Conservative commentators quickly disseminated the photos, suggesting they proved Ocasio-Cortez’ display of sorrow was really a political stunt.
Newly uncovered photos from the border protest attended by a tearful Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez show that she was crying over an empty parking lot.https://t.co/vlmVDPDoT9
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) June 26, 2019
Other social media users shared additional revealing photos. One image captured a photographer kneeling in front of Ocasio-Cortez to get the perfect angle.
— Andrew Wilkow (@WilkowMajority) June 26, 2019
A black-and-white photo indicated that the fence wasn’t as impenetrable as it initially appeared.
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) June 25, 2019
Elliot later reported that detention facilities do stand on the property the protestors had gathered outside of. But he said “they don’t appear to be within eyeshot of AOC’s vantage point, at least not close enough to see children ‘caged’ as she describes. In both directions the nearest building is barely visible. ”
“Perhaps that explains the tears,” he continued. “With a limited campaign budget, AOC didn’t have a lot of room for missed photo-op.”
Money “is not a solution”
Despite her frequent proclamations of concern for migrant children, Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday defied her party by voting against a bill to provide $4.5 billion in emergency border funding. She was one of just four liberal Democrats to do so, saying, “Throwing more money at the very organizations committing human rights abuses—and the very Administration directing these human rights abuses—is not a solution.”
Ocasio-Cortez was joined by House Republicans who said the bill sought to put too many restrictions on the president. But the legislation narrowly passed in a mostly party-line vote. Its fate is uncertain.
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