Add Aaron Sorkin to the club of people treated to a clapback from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The “West Wing” creator landed on the New York Democrat’s list when he appeared this weekend on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show, where he talked about the future of the Democratic Party. “I really like the new crop of young people who were just elected to Congress,” Sorkin said. “They now need to stop acting like young people, okay? It’s time to do that now.”
Sorkin, whose adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is on Broadway, laid out a vision of Democrats as the “non-stupid party.” “It’s not about transgender bathrooms. That’s a Republican talking point they’re trying to distract you with,” he said. “We haven’t forgotten the economic anxiety of the working class, but we’re going to be smart about this. We’re not going to be mean about it.”
Ocasio-Cortez, arguably the most prominent of said youthful cadre, unsurprisingly didn’t appreciate the “Newsroom” writer’s advice. She tweeted back: “News Flash: Medicare for All & equal rights aren’t trends. When people complain about low turnout in some demos, it’s not because communities are apathetic, it’s bc they don’t see you fighting for them. If we don’t show up for people, why should you feel entitled to their vote?”
The conversation continued when a follower of hers commented that Sorkin was focusing on politicians' public performances, not the issues at stake. “Sorkin really just wants gravitas, and he’s okay if the gravitas in our elected officials comes with troubling compromise,” Charlotte Clymer from the Human Rights Campaign tweeted. “We like @AOC and @Ilhan and these incoming Members because they prioritize substance over gravitas (appearance).”
Ocasio-Ortez picked up that thread, pointing to what she says is gender imbalance. “Ever wonder how expression that’s feminine, working-class, queer, or poc isn’t deemed as having ‘gravitas,’ but talking like an Aaron Sorkin character does?” she wrote. “Men have ‘gravitas,’ women get ‘likeable.’”
After posting several more tweets about the issue, the freshman congresswoman wrapped up her thoughts on Sorkin with a callback to his original point about transgender bathrooms. “Lastly, we wouldn’t need to talk about bathrooms at all if we acted like adults, washed our hands + minded our own business instead of trying to clock others,” she wrote. “Going by track record, I’d feel safer in a bathroom w/ a trans woman than a powerful male executive any day of the week.”