- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a stark political statement at the ritzy Met Gala in New York City on Monday, and it’s bringing in a flood of online outrage.

The New York Democrat donned a white gown with the words “Tax the Rich” splattered in big red letters across the back, along with a red handbag bearing the same slogan in white letters.

Republicans, often critical of the far-left lawmaker, seized on the opportunity to point out the outfit’s purported hypocrisy.

“Cost per Ticket: $30,000. Virtue signaling to your base while partying - without a mask - with the people you claim to hate: Priceless,” tweeted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

A tweet by the House Republican Conference’s official account demanded to know who paid for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s dress. 

Donald Trump Jr., the son of the former president, lashed out at Ms. Ocasio-Cortez for her outfit, as well as her failure to wear a mask in the photos published online.

“What makes AOC a bigger fraud: The “tax the rich” dress while she’s hanging out with a bunch of wealthy leftwing elites or the lack of masks after spending the past 18 months as one of the biggest authoritarian mask Karens in the country?” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez‘s fashion statement came on the same day that House Democrats were proposing one of the largest tax increases in U.S. history to pay for President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social spending bill now being debated on Capitol Hill.

The Met Gala is an exclusive annual event held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that attracts A-list celebrities, athletes and politicians. It is a fundraiser for the Met’s Costume Institute and is known for attendees’ outlandish and outré fashion choices. 

Individual tickets for this year’s event were about $30,000, and tables began at $200,000.

Other attendees also invoked political messages in their attire, including Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York Democrat, who wore an outfit advocating for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe held a clutch that read “In Gay We Trust,” while supermodel Cara Delevingne wore a shirt that said “Peg the Patriarchy.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez defended her choice of dress and her decision to attend the high-cost event.

“Before haters get wild flying off the handle, New York elected officials are routinely invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing and supporting the city’s cultural institutions for the public. I was one of several in attendance this evening,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Some Twitter users also celebrated the dress and poked fun at conservatives who were outraged by the message. 

“[T]rumpy men are losing their minds about AOC’s dress,” tweeted Molly Jong-Fast, an editor-at-large for The Daily Beast.

Aurora James, the founder and creative director of Brother Vellies, which designed the dress, praised her client.

“Fashion is changing, America is changing,” Ms. James told Vogue. “And as far as this theme goes, I think Alexandria and I are a great embodiment of the language fashion needs to consider adding to the general lexicon as we work towards a more sustainable, inclusive and empowered future.”

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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