Ocasio-Cortez on Monday called for Kelly to apologize before leaving his post for an October 2017 episode. In remarks at the White House, he called Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) an “empty barrel” and accused her of grandstanding at a public event in Florida by taking credit for securing federal funding for a new building. Video of the event showed his attack to be inaccurate.
In a tweet on Monday, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) wrote that Kelly owed Wilson “a long overdue apology.”
Ocasio-Cortez agreed in a post on Twitter, writing that Kelly “was straight up exposed for lying about @RepWilson in comments aimed at discrediting her.”
“He absolutely owes her an apology, and his refusal to do so isn’t a sign of strength — it’s cowardice,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
That tweet appeared to be very much on Conway’s mind during an appearance on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer.”
Asked about the timing of President Trump’s pick of a successor to Kelly, Conway said she first wanted to defend Kelly.
“He is in his fifth decade of public service, and this country owes him a debt of gratitude, not the nonsense that’s been spewed about him, even recently from the left and from this 29-year-old congresswoman who doesn’t seem to know much about anything when you ask her basic concepts about the economy, the Middle East, military funding — really embarrassing,” Conway said.
Critics have pounced on several misstatements by Ocasio-Cortez amid the media attention she has garnered since upsetting long-serving Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a Democratic primary in June.
In a July television interview, Ocasio-Cortez described Israel’s presence in the West Bank, a Palestinian territory, as an “occupation.” She later walked back the comment, saying she was “not the expert on geopolitics on this issue.”
Conway said she considered Ocasio-Cortez’s comments about Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, to be a “slur.”
“For her to even use a slur against him yesterday — and I won’t repeat her name or the slur — but let me stand up for Gen. John Kelly,” she said. “He’s done a magnificent job for this country for almost 50 years, and that includes here at the White House as our chief of staff for about a year and a half.”
Speaking later to reporters at the White House, Conway dubbed Ocasio-Cortez “one of your new favorite flavors in Congress.”