Watch: Ocasio-Cortez Attempts Accent at Al Sharpton’s NAN Conference

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (R) is welcomed by the Reverend Al Sharpton speaks during a gathering of the National Action Network April 5, 2019 in New York. (Photo by Don Emmert / AFP) (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Friday appeared to deviate from her normal dialect in a speech before Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference, sparking mockery from conservative and centrist pundits.

“This is what organizing looks like. This is what building power looks like,” Ocasio-Cortez said, complimenting organizers on the convention’s turnout. “This is what changing the country looks like. It’s when we choose to show up and occupy the room, and talk about the things that matter most, talking about our future.”

The avowed Democratic-socialist seemingly addressed criticism of her thin resume before her election to Congress, saying that she was is “proud to be a bartender.”

“Ain’t nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with working retail, folding clothes for other people to buy,” the 29-year-old continued, still forcing an accent. “There is nothing wrong with preparing the food that your neighbors will eat. There is nothing wrong with driving the buses that take your family to work.”

Some commentators took to social media to poke fun at the attempted transformation.

Several black conservatives took offense, including Lawrence Jones III — a Fox News contributor who had a dust-up with Ocasio-Cortez Thursday night over a photo of him wearing an armored vest at the U.S.-Mexico border.

AOC’s maneuver drew comparisons to failed 2016 Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — perhaps the most often-cited example of a political figure faking an accent to pander to voters. In a 2007 speech to an African-American church in Selma, Alabama, Clinton’s southern accent was painfully apparent during her remarks: “I don’t feel no ways tired. I come too far… from where I started from.”

Clinton’s fake southern dialect became a national punchline, even as a running gag on one South Park episode — yet she brought it out of semi-retirement in March 2019 for a speech in Selma, Alabama.

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