WASHINGTON – Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez harshly condemned the white supremacists who tied a Confederate flag to the front door of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City.
"We stand with our Jewish neighbors & loved ones, and will always stand to protect them from these sickening acts of hatred + intimidation," the second-term congresswoman from New York tweeted. "'White supremacists should pack up their garbage & get out of our city. New York does not and will never welcome you. We protect each other."
On Wednesday, a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The Confederate flag was one of many hate symbols carried into the building by Donald Trump supporters protesting the election of Joe Biden to the U.S. presidency.
Ocasio-Cortez has been at the forefront of criticizing the Republican Party for Wednesday's events, calling for Trump's removal over his "clear incitement of the crowd." She was also one of the first lawmakers to call for Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to resign for their Electoral College challenges that helped spur the riots on Capitol Hill, adding that the Senate should expel them if they do not.
President-elect Biden cited Nazi minister Joseph Goebbels and his propaganda techniques when asked about Cruz and Hawley. "I think the American public has a good clear look at who they are. They're part of the Big Lie," Biden said. "Goebbels [said] in the Great Lie, you keep repeating the lie, repeating the lie."
Ocasio-Cortez slammed Cruz for his criticism of Biden's remarks, calling his "continued excusal and denial of Wednesday's neo-Nazi presence abhorrent and dangerous."
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"They wore Auschwitz shirts, erected gallows, and tried to hang the Vice President," she tweeted. She also cited Rep. Mary Miller's "Hitler was right" remarks in her criticism of Cruz, tweeting that "your GOP colleague in the House praised Hitler this week. A Confederate flag was hung outside the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Yet you continue to deny this clear connection in the aftermath of Wednesday’s violence. You disgrace yourself and your office further every day. Resign."
Cruz rejected Ocasio-Cortez's "epic hypocrisy," calling Nazis "evil bigots" while saying "calling your political opponents Nazis is atrocious." He added that her and her "anti-Israel pals blocked a resolution condemning antisemitism - which I passed unanimously in the Senate."
Ocasio-Cortez noted that she indeed "proudly voted" for the resolution and called his statements "increasingly erratic and unfounded." She noted that she doesn't call all of her opponents Nazis, "but rest assured, neo-Nazis are my opponents."
The New York Holocaust Museum has notified New York's police department of the flag, Jack Kliger, the museum’s president and CEO, said in a statement Friday. He said the flag showed that “hate has now arrived at our doorstep.”
“This is an atrocious attack on our community and on our institution and must be met with the swift and forceful response by law enforcement,” he said. “The Confederate flag is a potent symbol of white supremacy, as evidenced by the events at the U.S. Capitol this week.”
The NYPD did not confirm whether the flag was being investigated as a hate crime, but told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it had been assigned to the department's detective division, and called the act “atrocious.”
The Museum of Jewish Heritage played a central role in New York state’s efforts to combat antisemitism early last year, as Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed that every New York City public school student be required to visit a Holocaust museum.
JTA contributed to this report