Republicans like to pretend that their fascination with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t involve a big helping of fear, but every now and then they drop the facade and let the fear show through openly. That’s the case with Republican Rep. Andy Barr’s invitation to AOC to come to his home state of Kentucky and talk to some coal miners about the Green New Deal. Barr thought he had her in a corner … right up until she accepted the invitation and he realized he was the one in the corner.
Barr pretty obviously planned to find some coal miners who would yell at AOC about how she was putting them out of work. But she responded that she’d be “happy” to go, that “when I first started my campaign, the first place I went was Kentucky,” and oh, by the way, “I’d also like to note that in the Green New Deal, one of the things that I advocate for is fully funding the pensions of coal miners in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia because we want a just transition to make sure we’re investing in jobs across those swaths of the country.”
Huh. Fully funding pensions, she says? At a time when coal companies are doing everything they can to dump the pensions of their retired miners?
No doubt it’s a coincidence that Barr subsequently withdrew his invitation because she was super-mean to Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw about his nerve in attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar over 9/11 while he himself has refused to co-sponsor the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund. It’s not that Barr is nervous about AOC talking to coal miners about funding their pensions, no sirree—it’s just that he can’t deal with the incivility.
But this is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Barr is trying to own even as he retreats. “Luckily, Kentucky has open borders,” her spokesman told the Louisville Courier Journal. “If we decided to go to Kentucky to visit with coal miners, which we certainly hope to, and talk about the opportunities that can be brought to the rural South … and to coal-mine country and Appalachia, that can be brought by transitioning to renewable energy and the Green New Deal, we’ll be excited to do so.”
And we know AOC doesn’t need Andy Barr to set up that meeting in part because there is not one active coal mine in Barr’s district. Also because the United Mine Workers of America would probably be happy to set up that meeting for her, too.