Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera doggedly defended freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who describes herself as a democratic socialist — on the network, saying he remembers when he wanted to solve the world’s problems. His remarks drew immediate scorn from Fox News host Sean Hannity and conservative commentator Dan Bongino, who have criticized her politics.

Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has gained widespread attention from conservatives who have put down the newly minted congresswoman as a “little girl” and “some young uppity.”

“I feel pride in her,” Rivera told Hannity on the conservative news channel Tuesday night, according to Mediaite. “She’s me at the age of 26, when you have long hair and your mustache is out to here and you want to solve everything.”

As The Washington Post’s Elise Viebeck reported in January, ever since Ocasio-Cortez “burst onto the national political scene as a young socialist Democrat,” she has “been an obsession for many on the political right.”

Commentators and politicians have criticized her intelligence, her clothing, even her claims of working-class roots. There are new examples all the time.
Republicans Ed Rollins and Rush Limbaugh recently dismissed Ocasio-Cortez as a “little girl” and “some young uppity.” The Washington Examiner’s Eddie Scarry tweeted a photo of her in November and wrote that she doesn’t “look like a girl who struggles.” The Daily Caller promoted what it described as a possible “nude selfie” of her last week before walking back its headline.

Rivera told Hannity that she “makes a very convenient target.”

“What, do you want her to be Gandhi?” Rivera said. “You want her to go begging with a wooden bowl and getting some rice and living in poverty?”

“The Democrats will die as a result of their own philosophical misguided pursuit of these sophomoric goals,” Rivera added on Fox News, where the congresswoman has been a top talking point, “but to have the enthusiasm of youth being attacked that way — what if it was a young Irish kid who came from your neighborhood and he got elected against all odds? You would love it, too.”

“Stop, stop, stop with the identity! Stop!” Hannity interrupted.

Rivera said that although Ocasio-Cortez “may have the most far-fetched ideas that are totally implausible or impractical,” she has “heart.”

Bongino, who was also a panelist on the show, jumped in, calling out Rivera for “claiming that people are going after some of these ideas with Ms. Cortez because of her minority status as a woman.”

"Geraldo, to say she has a heart — socialism doesn’t have a heart! Socialism kills people, Geraldo!” he said.

“Socialism is over. Socialism is so yesterday,” Rivera replied. “But let the kids enjoy. Let them revel in the possibility that everything can be wonderful, that everybody in South Asia can have a Cadillac.

“That is the fuel of youth, Dan.”

Bongino continued to debate.

“What if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was promoting fascism? Would you say she has a heart?” he asked Rivera.

“Of course not,” Rivera replied. “I am not a socialist — I am a capitalist, I am a Republican. But I understand the generosity of the concept of socialism.”

Elsewhere on Fox News on Tuesday night, the network’s senior political analyst, Brit Hume, compared Ocasio-Cortez to an “adorable” child. He told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the congresswoman is “kind of compelling. She’s kind of adorable, sort of, in the way that a 5-year-old child can be adorable,” according to Media Matters.

During the broadcast, Rivera took to Twitter on Tuesday night, saying the No. 1 reason Ocasio-Cortez has “caught fire” is “her charismatic empathy.”

“Her ideas may be far out,” he tweeted, “but they are sincere & aspirational — she has become de facto leader of Democrats because she has a pulse.”

Then he asked people to tune in to the news show — “to hear my defense of homegirl.”

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