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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Riffs On Climate Change, Political Philosophy In Instagram Live Video: 'I’m Here To Do The Most Good Each Day'

Instagram live videos are nothing new for New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The freshman Democrat has previously taken to the social media platform to answer policy questions while cooking and highlighted her first week in Congress with a series of Instagram stories that garnered her more attention from supporters, critics and media. 

On Wednesday, the self-appointed democratic socialist, discussed policy while putting together furniture in her Washington D.C. apartment. Ocasio-Cortez explained to the 8,000-plus who tuned in that despite previously tweeting about needing to buy furniture; she had several pieces delivered that day and needed to put them together. 

"I've been sleeping on a mattress on the floor," the congresswoman said between eating popcorn and sipping white wine. 

Ocasio-Cortez took questions from those watching, discussing everything from why President Donald Trump hasn't released his tax returns to if she thinks Puerto Rico should become the 51st state.

But the bulk of the congresswoman's time was spent discussing her cornerstone policy issue — climate change.

"We have 12 years left to cut emissions by at least 50 percent, if not more, and for everyone who wants to make a joke about that, you may laugh but your grandkids will not," Ocasio-Cortez said after someone asked how many years the world had before it ends.

Ocasio-Cortez has drawn criticism for her Green New Deal, a wide-ranging policy that seeks to reduce the United States carbon emissions to zero by 2050. While most Democrats praised the resolution, Republicans have balked at the cost of such an endeavor, including Trump who has frequently asserted that Ocasio-Cortez wants to tear down every building in Manhattan and rebuild them.

Ocasio-Cortez compared reactions to climate change to that of individuals who protested the Civil Rights movement, saying that the internet "documents everything" and that "your grandchildren will not be able to hide the fact that you fought against acknowledging and taking bold actions on climate change."

"You look back and you open history books on the Civil Rights movement, and you see those folks who are protesting against the ability for African Americans and black Americans to have the right to vote," the congresswoman said. "And they would hold up these bigoted signs and they would hold up signs that said things like 'what about white rights?' and like all of this stuff in the 1950s and 1960s. So just know, that in the present day, there are a lot of people who hide the fact that their families and that their grandparents fought against principles of equal rights in the United States. Not 100 years ago, not 80 years ago, but in this generation’s lifetime."

"People who are trying to mock and delay this moment, I mean, I just feel bad for you. I just pity you for your role in history right now," Ocasio-Cortez added.

On Wednesday, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz unveiled his own initiative — called the Green Real Deal — as a Republican answer to climate change. In his presentation, Gaetz called the proposal a “common sense rebuttal" to Ocasio-Cortez's policy, but also called on Republicans not to discount the "science of climate change."

“History will judge harshly my Republican colleagues who deny the science of climate change,” Gaetz said. “Similarly, those Democrats who would use climate change as a basis to regulate out of existence the American experience will face the harsh reality that their ideas will fail.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Instagram live New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez discusses climate change on Instagram live while putting together furniture in her Washington D.C. apartment on April 3. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

In answering the question on climate change, Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Republicans who criticize her. "The reason Republicans hate me so much is because I confront them directly on their moral — their lack of moral grounding on so many issues and, not just that, but the reason they're so upset and they act like that girl in 'The Exorcist’ that's like vomiting pea soup, that’s like them and negativity. The reason that they do that is because they need to fiercely protect a paradigm and way of thinking that says short-term gains are more important, no matter how marginal than any long-term loss and any long-term cost," she said.

The New York Rep. then illustrated how profits for oil companies, pharmaceutical companies and banks take priority even as they take advantage of Americans by pricing drugs so that many cannot afford them or by bankrupting and foreclosing on homes.

"I'm here to tell you that maybe Q2 profits are not more important than our grandchildren," she said. "So, you can do whatever you want. You can troll me in the short term; you can rake me over the coals. You can make me look like an entire joke in front of society, just know that that’s a short term reality. And whether I’m here or I’m not here, the truth and the facts stay the same, brother."

Ocasio-Cortez added that she believes the truth will come out as "truth does not stay buried forever."

"It may take a year, it may take 30 years, it may take a generation, but truth will always rise. It will always rise and so long as I can go home every single day and look to myself in the mirror and say ‘you did what you thought was right and you did not compromise people and their well being along the way," she said. "As long as I can sleep at night? That’s all I care about, and I can sleep at night knowing that I did everything I could for all people."

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