Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said she “loved” Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) and Beto O’Rourke’s (D) unexpected Spanish-speaking moments during the first Democrat debate, describing them as “humorous” during an appearance on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show Wednesday night.
Both O’Rourke and Booker showcased their Spanish-speaking skills (or lack thereof, some say) during Wednesday night’s debate. Ocasio-Cortez said she “loved” their attempts because she represents the Bronx.
“I loved it, because, I represent the Bronx and there was a lot of Spanglish in the building,” she said, adding that it was “humorous, sometimes, at times.”
She even joked about the possibility of a candidate saying something like, “I will not give you an answer to your question” in Spanish.
Technically, that occurred. O’Rourke dodged a question on a 70 percent marginal income tax rate with a vague answered in English, only to repeat the same thing in Spanish.
“This economy has got to work for everyone and right now we know that it isn’t,” he said, repeating himself in Spanish rather than answering the question.
Cory Booker's face while Beto O'Rourke speaks in Spanish LMAO pic.twitter.com/9aaPALihfC
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) June 27, 2019
Still, Ocasio-Cortez thought the Spanish was a “good gesture to the fact that we are a diverse country.”
O’Rourke was the first candidate to kick off speaking Spanish at the debate, dodging the question on a 70 percent marginal income tax rate. Booker, seemingly perturbed by O’Rourke one-upping him, responded to a question about the border crisis in what many say was less than stellar Spanish. Even Vox described Booker’s attempt as “nearly incomprehensible.”
“The situation right now is unacceptable,” Booker said. “The president has attacked and demonized immigrants. It’s unacceptable. I will change this.”
Ocasio-Cortez did not name specific people, but she said some of the candidates did not seem prepared, likening them to high school students who did not “read the book.”
“I think sometimes with the debate stage this big, it can kind of seem like a high school classroom, and so there are some folks that, like, didn’t seem like they read the book, and then they got called on,” she told Colbert.
“So, they’ll answer the question or they’ll get called on, and I don’t think some candidates thought that they were going to get called on, on a certain question. And they’ll be like, ‘Yes, the hero was courageous and the protagonist of the story,'” she continued.
The freshman lawmaker also said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “knocked it out of the park,” and she gave props to Julián Castro as well.
“I’ll be honest, I really do think that this was a breakaway night,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I think Elizabeth Warren really distinguished herself, I think Julian Castro really distinguished himself. I think Cory Booker did a great job in talking about criminal justice.”
Despite Ocasio-Cortez’s glowing praise of Warren, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) came out as the true underdog, winning the Drudge Report‘s online straw poll.