When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made her late-night debut last June on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she was the last guest of the night following Michael Moore, comedian Eric Andre and a special appearance by Jon Stewart. Seven months later, the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives was the main event.
Thanks to President Trump, the Bronx-born congresswoman has yet to be in office with the government fully open, meaning that she and her fellow freshmen members “can’t start doing the work we’re elected to do,” she said. “So the downside is that we’re not able to get to work as much as we want to in the beginning, but the bright side is it gives us a lot more free time to make trouble.”
That “trouble” has included her #WheresMitch social media campaign to track down Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and try to force him to call a vote to reopen the government. Now, Ocasio-Cortez has been tapped to teach some of the more seasoned Democrats how to better use platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
“Rule No. 1 is to be authentic, to be yourself and don’t try to be anyone that you’re not,” she told Colbert. “So don’t try to talk like a young kid if you’re not a young kid. Don’t post a meme if you don’t know what a meme is—that was literally my advice, and I said don’t talk like the Founding Fathers on Twitter.”
Ocasio-Cortez also revealed how she chooses who to respond to on Twitter, attempting to make sure she’s not giving the wrong people undue attention. She tends to fire back at “notable” people or “verified” users because she doesn’t “want to go after some innocent bystander.” She added, “If you have a blue check, if you’re in my mentions, if you’re being sassy in a way that I think is unjustified, and if I haven’t eaten in two to three hours,” then watch out.
Later, Colbert pressed her on some of the backlash she’s received from members of her own party who tell her to “wait your turn” and “don’t make waves.” The host said, “I want to ask this question in a respectful manner, knowing also that you’re from Queens, so you will understand this question. On a scale from zero to some, how many fucks do you give?”
After thinking for a second, Ocasio-Cortez said, “I think it’s zero.”
In response to those who value party unity above all else, she added, “If you think activism is inherently divisive—I mean, today is Martin Luther King Day. And people called Martin Luther King divisive in his time. We forget he was wildly unpopular when advocating for the Civil Rights Act. I think that what we need to realize is that social movements should be the moral compass of our politics.”
Finally, Ocasio-Cortez assured a concerned Colbert that under her controversial 70 percent marginal tax rate, he would not have to surrender “all” of his money. “This is something we often see too, with Fox News,” she said. “It’s like, ‘They want to take all your money!’” She explained that in reality the tax is only on income made after $10 million in one year.
“At what level are we really just living in excess,” Ocasio-Cortez said, “and what kind of society do we want to live in?”
The Late Show audience cheered wildly with approval.