- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 3, 2021

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired back at criticism Wednesday after she was accused of neglecting her grandmother after posting pictures of her dilapidated home in Puerto Rico.

“Just over a week ago, my abuela fell ill. I went to Puerto Rico to see her- my 1st time in a year+ bc of COVID,” the New York Democratic congresswoman tweeted. “This is her home. Hurricane María relief hasn’t arrived. Trump blocked relief $ for PR. People are being forced to flee ancestral homes, & developers are taking them.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez included photos of the inside of her grandmother’s home, which showed several buckets collecting rainwater and parts of the ceiling coming down, apparently still damaged from the 2017 hurricane.

Conservative commentator Matt Walsh accused the congresswoman, who earns $174,000 a year, of living in “luxury” while her grandmother suffered.

“Shameful that you live in luxury while allowing your own grandmother to suffer in these squalid conditions,” he wrote.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez responded: “You don’t even have a concept for the role that 1st-gen, first-born daughters play in their families. 

“My abuela is okay,” she continued. “But instead of only caring for mine & letting others suffer, I’m calling attention to the systemic injustices you seem totally fine w/ in having a US colony.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez blamed the Trump administration for imposing “extremely difficult eligibility rules” for Puerto Ricans, which “allowed mass rejections of recovery fund applications.” She said that while the Trump administration played a “major role,” local politicians and the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, also known as the La Junta, enacted policies that botched the distribution of aid and “pushed out local families.”

“To turn this around, we need audits & get recovery relief to people ASAP, without the onerous strings,” she tweeted.

“And for the record - my abuela is doing okay,” she added. “It’s not about us, but about what’s happening to Puerto Rican’s across the island. She had a place to go to and be cared for - what about the thousands of people who don’t?”

The congresswoman retweeted a study that said only 29% of the $71 billion allocated by the U.S. government to help Puerto Ricans had been dispersed nearly four years after the hurricane.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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