Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez showed off her knowledge of video games and ability to connect with people using non-traditional methods during a surprise appearance on a live stream of an online video game fundraiser.
The millennial congresswoman on Sunday called into the fundraiser, which involved a more than 50-hour marathon game of “Donkey Kong 64” to raise money for a UK-based transgender youth advocacy organization, and briefly discussed her history with video games.
“I never owned a (Nintendo 64), though I do think it’s probably the best system out of all of them,” Ocasio-Cortez said, according to archival footage of the live stream. “But I used to go to my cousin’s house all the time and she had ‘Super Mario 64,’ ‘Pokemon Snap’ and probably a handful of other things. That’s probably all I know how to play.”
The New York Democrat also discussed issues pertaining to transgender people.
“Trans rights – absolutely, it’s a no-brainer. Trans rights are civil rights are human rights,” she said.
“The added layer of discrimination (for trans people), it makes these issues much more acute in their crisis than they usually are on average for other people,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And so it’s important that we do talk about these issues in the economic frame but not let go of the fact that discrimination is a core reason for the economic hardship.”
The appearance was apparently in response to a recent critique by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Appearing earlier Sunday on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Sorkin said that although he likes the new group of young Democrats elected to Congress, “They now need to stop acting like young people.” Sorkin added that there’s a “great opportunity” for Democrats “to be the non-stupid party” and that they need to focus less on issues like “transgender bathrooms.”
In a series of tweets about Sorkin’s comments, the congresswoman wrote that “we wouldn’t need to talk about bathrooms at all if we acted like adults…and minded our own business …” In another tweet, she plugged the fundraiser, writing that it is “a good moment to support the queer community.”
Although Ocasio-Cortez didn’t directly mention Sorkin’s critique of young politicians during her appearance, she shared a tweet about how she was helping to raise money for the organization, writing, “Lemons into lemonade.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who last week gave her Democratic colleagues in the House a lesson on how to effectively use Twitter, also demonstrated her gaming knowledge last week to comment on the popularity of a tax plan she has proposed.
Her tweet cited a by New York magazine story noting that in a recent poll, 45% of self-identified Republicans approve of her tax plan, which includes taxing the wealthy as high as 70%.
“All your base (are) belong to us,” she wrote, referring to both the base of the Republican Party, which the poll suggested was open to her proposal, and a popular 2000s internet meme based on the early 1990s game “Zero Wing” that features Japanese text poorly translated into English.