Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old Democratic socialist who unexpectedly toppled incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in Tuesday’s primary race, said she would support impeaching President Donald Trump.
“I think that we have the grounds to do it,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Wednesday, before changing the subject to the upcoming midterm elections. “I think what really we need to focus on is that we are advocating for the policies to win in November.”
When pressed about her decision to support impeachment, Ocasio-Cortez pointed to Trump’s potential violation of the emoluments clause, which forbids government officials from accepting payments from foreign governments.
“I think that there are serious grounds in violations of the emoluments clause from day one,” she said. “I think that is, first and foremost, one of the basic elements and violations.”
“And then, once again, it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen over the next few months,” she continued. “There are one or more investigations happening. But I think, from day one, we have had violations of the emoluments clause with the presidency.”
Only a handful of lawmakers, including Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) have publicly called for Trump’s impeachment. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has pushed back against their efforts, stating that impeachment would fail if it was seen as partisan.
A majority of House members are needed for impeachment to move forward. Given the GOP’s majority hold on Congress, it’s unlikely this could occur under current circumstances. Some Democratic lawmakers are hopeful the midterm elections will flip enough seats in Congress to pave the way for impeachment.
Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday stood by her desire to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement if elected to Congress in November.
“We absolutely do need to make sure that our borders are secure,” Ocasio-Cortez said on CNN. “But what we need to realize and remember is that ICE was established in 2003 right at the same time as the Patriot Act, the AUMF, the Iraq War ― and we look back at a lot of that time and legislation as a mistake now. And I think that ICE is right there as a part of it.”
“Its extrajudicial nature is based into the structure of the agency,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We can replace it with a humane agency that is directed toward safe passage instead of the direction of the criminalization.”
Following her shocking victory Tuesday night, Ocasio-Cortez made the rounds on several morning news shows Wednesday. When asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” why she often refrained from calling out Trump directly during her campaign, Ocasio-Cortez said she felt it wasn’t the best way forward.
“What we need to do is lay out a plan and a vision that people can believe in,” she said. “And getting into Twitter fights with the president is not exactly where we’re going to find progress as a nation.”
This has been updated to include additional comments from Ocasio-Cortez.