Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway sparred Sunday over the congresswoman’s Twitter silence following the Easter Sunday church bombings in Sri Lanka, with Ocasio-Cortez saying Conway used the attention around her lack of tweets “as an excuse to stoke suspicion” about her faith.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning, Conway told host Jake Tapper that Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, tweeted “many times” about the shootings at two New Zealand mosques last month that left 50 dead, but “never once” tweeted about the series of church bombings in Sri Lanka last week that left more than 250 people dead and hundreds injured on Easter Sunday.
In a handful of tweets about Conway’s comments, Ocasio-Cortez, whose use of Twitter has become one of her trademark characteristics, defended the fact that she did not post a tweet about last week’s attacks, noting in one tweet that she had been on a technology hiatus while she was visiting her grandmother in Puerto Rico.
“Are you trying to imply that I am less Christian? What was the point of you bringing this up on national TV?” Ocasio-Cortez asked Conway in the tweet.
In a separate tweet, Ocasio-Cortez wrote that the “terrorist attack in Sri Lanka was horrifying,” before saying in another that Conway was “using this as an excuse to stoke suspicion around my Christianity + faith life.”
“The Sri Lanka massacre was horrifying. No one should be targeted for their religion,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “If you’re so moved, let’s do more to welcome immigrants fleeing religious persecution.”
On Sunday afternoon, Conway replied to Ocasio-Cortez in a pair of tweets. In the first, she gave her best to the congresswoman’s grandmother and said she missed her own every day, calling them “irreplaceable.” Conway also said, “Good that you now condemn Sri Lanka massacre. Some found it odd a prolific tweeter was silent. Following day you tweeted about your movie.”
In a second tweet, Conway said she didn’t judge anybody’s faith, including that of Ocasio-Cortez, and noted that she said during her CNN appearance “that people of all faiths should be free from harm.” She said Ocasio-Cortez’s “extreme ideas like Green New Deal & Socialized Medicine DO scare me tho!” before asking the congresswoman to call her to talk about areas for bipartisanship.
The congresswoman also used the moment earlier in the day to comment on the Trump administration’s response to the devastation in Puerto Rico caused in 2017 by Hurricane Maria, saying in the tweet about her technology hiatus that the country “continues to suffer from the White House’s incompetent disaster response.”
“I’m curious, how do you spin ignoring and neglecting the largest mass death of people on American soil in decades, (Kellyanne)?” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to include Conway’s Sunday afternoon response to Ocasio-Cortez.
CNN’s Nicky Robertson contributed to this report.