AOC Questions Kimberly Guilfoyle's Knowledge of Her Own Heritage After She Said She's a 'First-Generation American' at RNC

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive New York Democrat, questioned Kimberly Guilfoyle's description of herself as a "first-generation American" during her speech on the opening night of the Republican National Convention.

Guilfoyle, a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump's re-election campaign and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., highlighted how her mother was from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. She also explained that her father was an immigrant.

"As a first-generation American, I know how dangerous their socialist agenda is. My mother, Mercedes, was a special education teacher from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico," the Trump campaign official said. "My father, also an immigrant, came to this nation in pursuit of the American dream. Now, I consider it my duty to fight to protect that dream."

Guilfoyle's father was born in Ireland and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s.

The woman the GOP picked as their “proud” Latina to tout “immigrant experience” didn’t seem to know that Puerto Rico is already part of the United States.

It’s quite on message, bc it reflects their belief that Latinos aren’t real citizens, even when we are Native descendants. https://t.co/I7iU3yEGT0

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 25, 2020

Despite Guilfoyle's assessment, her mother would have been an American citizen from birth. In 1917, Congress passed the Jones-Shafroth Act, which granted all Puerto Ricans born on or after April 25, 1898, U.S. citizenship. Puerto Rico is classified as an unincorporated territory of the U.S., and Puerto Ricans are American citizens. Ocasio-Cortez, who is Puerto Rican, shared a Twitter thread explaining this, while also criticizing Guilfoyle and Republicans.

"The woman the GOP picked as their 'proud' Latina to tout 'immigrant experience' didn't seem to know that Puerto Rico is already part of the United States," the congresswoman tweeted. "It's quite on message, bc it reflects their belief that Latinos aren't real citizens, even when we are Native descendants," she wrote.

Kimberly Guilfoyle
Kimberly Guilfoyle prerecords her address to the Republican National Convention at the Mellon Auditorium on August 24 in Washington, D.C. Guilfoyle's mother was from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; her father immigrated from Ireland to the U.S. in the 1950s. By law, Guilfoyle has always been an American citizen. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

With her post, Ocasio-Cortez retweeted a thread from writer Andrea González-Ramírez explaining the history. "'Proud Latina' Kimberly Guilfoyle should know that Puerto Ricans like her mother Mercedes have been U.S. citizens since 1917. Therefore, she was not an 'immigrant,'" she wrote.

Sergio Gor, chief of staff to the Trump Victory Finance Committee, which has Guilfoyle as its vice chair, told Newsweek in an emailed statement, "Along with millions of other immigrants, Kimberly's father immigrated to the United States. She is a proud daughter of an immigrant, and is the epitome of the American Dream."

Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, also appeared to take issue with Guilfoyle's description of herself, although she did not mention the Trump official by name.

My husband and his family are Puerto Rican. They aren't first generation Americans.... because Puerto Rico is an American territory. I feel like this has to be explained every few months and it makes me fear for what is being taught in our schools....

— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) August 25, 2020

"My husband and his family are Puerto Rican. They aren't first generation Americans...because Puerto Rico is an American territory. I feel like this has to be explained every few months and it makes me fear for what is being taught in our schools," McCain tweeted early Tuesday morning, after Guilfoyle's speech.

MSNBC producer Andrew Paul Joyce and others in the media tweeted fact-checks of Guilfoyle's remarks as well.

Been thinking about this part of Kimberly Guilfoyle’s speech

1. If your mom is from Puerto Rico, you’re not a “first-generation American”

2. Her father immigrated from Ireland so how did her parents experiences (In Puerto Rico and Ireland) teach her about the “Socialist agenda” pic.twitter.com/ujoDetpR7P

— A.P. Joyce (@AndrewPaulJoyce) August 25, 2020

"Been thinking about this part of Kimberly Guilfoyle's speech," he tweeted. "1. If your mom is from Puerto Rico, you're not a 'first-generation American.' 2. Her father immigrated from Ireland so how did her parents' experiences (in Puerto Rico and Ireland) teach her about the 'Socialist agenda.'"

This story was updated with a statement from the Trump Victory Finance Committee.