In Glasgow, they know she’s ‘AOC,’ but many don’t know what that means

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In Glasgow, they know she's 'AOC,' but many don't know what that means

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of the most famous politicians in America. But if her appearance at this week’s UN Climate Change Conference in Scotland is any guide, her rep has not entirely preceded her overseas.

Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 20 other House Democrats at the summit known as COP26, drawing large crowds — including some who didn’t know why they were snapping pictures of the socialist Democrat. 

Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Dlouhy shared a photo of the audience for one AOC appearance on Twitter, and recounted an exchange between two onlookers.

“Even in Glasgow, @AOC draws crowds, including some folks unsure exactly why they are trying to snap pics of her,” Dlouhy wrote. “‘It is AOC,’ explains one person to another puzzled onlooker. ‘She is a member of the House in America who is quite famous.’”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 20 other House Democrats at COP26.
Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto/Shuttersto

Ocasio-Cortez was also among the Democrats who doffed their masks for a group photo, despite the conference’s rule to wear face coverings “at all times except when eating, drinking, sitting in office/meeting spaces or conducting negotiations; or if medically exempt.”

AOC’s trip to Scotland came just days after she and five other Democrats voted against a bipartisan infrastructure bill in a last-ditch effort to use it as leverage to force an accompanying vote on a sweeping $1.75 trillion social spending bill — which includes approximately $555 billion for clean energy and climate investments. 

During a panel Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez appeared to praise the passage of the $1.2 trillion package — despite her vote against moving it to President Biden’s desk. 

“The president very much has put very high stakes on getting this agenda through … even the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, as we know, it took a very long time to get the votes in the House to get that,” she said. “The votes were secured on a promise for the [$1.75 trillion] Build Back Better Act and for a vote for the Build Back Better Act.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talked about the importance of climate activism in Glasgow on Nov. 9, 2021.
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Over the weekend Ocasio-Cortez attempted to throw cold water on the White House celebration of the infrastructure bill’s passage.

“I want to protect our party from the disappointment and collapse in turnout from communities like mine that occurs when we tell them we did things we didn’t do. We shouldn’t promise all lead pipes will be fixed if that is not the case. Some will, most won’t. We must push for BBB,” she tweeted, using the acronym for the Build Back Better Act. 

In a separate tweet she shared a photo of a post from Biden that praised the infrastructure deal for getting rid of lead pipes.

“It’s not just that we made these promises before – look at how the infra bill is being messaged *now*”, she wrote. “I respect the President and the leg feat he just accomplished. But this is simply wrong. We did not fund the replacement of every child’s pipe & we shouldn’t tell people we did.”

In her remarks Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez highlighted the importance of climate activism.

“I think what we saw, throughout the uprisings during the Trump era, through the increased sophistication of mobilization of climate grassroots, was an alternative path, an alternative framework for how we pursue climate justice,” she said. 

The lawmaker also touted the Build Back Better Act, calling it an investment “in frontline communities.” 

The original framework was proposed to be around $3.5 trillion, but was slashed to around $1.75 trillion after moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona vowed to vote against the package at the higher price tag. Democrats will need all 50 votes in the divided Senate to approve the bill without Republican support. 

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