President Trump urged Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to run against the state’s longtime Sen. Chuck Schumer in the 2022 primary in November, saying that she would be a “big improvement” and that she would likely win.
Schumer, the Senate minority leader, has been a vocal critic of the president, but so has Ocasio-Cortez, who faces her own primary challenger this year for her House seat. Critics of the president say Trump’s call on Ocasio-Cortez to run is simply an attempt to divide the party.
Trump retweeted a report from the Washington Times that said liberals “are kicking around the idea” of the “Squad” leader taking on Schumer, who represents to them the old establishment.
The paper pointed out that David Sirota, a senior adviser to the Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, wrote, “Just going to say something out loud that should be obvious: The fastest way to speed up the process of changing the corrupt, do-nothing, status-quo-protecting culture of the national Democratic Party is for @AOC to defeat @ChuckSchumer in a Democratic primary in 2022.”
This is not the first time that Trump played fight promoter between the two. Earlier this year he said that the freshman would “kick his a–.”
Ocasio-Cortez stunned the political establishment when she defeated 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley in the 2018 Democratic primary and went on to win the general election.
She has emerged since then as a standard-bearer for the Democratic Party’s left flank, calling for a “Green New Deal” and the elimination of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview in April that she is focused on winning her reelection to Congress rather than seek higher office. When Politico’s Playbook asked her if she would rule out a run against Schumer, she responded, “I don’t know.”
The Atlantic reported back in January that Schumer “is trying to ward off a 2022 primary challenge” from Ocasio-Cortez.
“That’s all I thought it was about,” a veteran trade lobbyist told the magazine. “He sees AOC over his shoulder at all times, apparently.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report