Ocasio-Cortez defends banning press from campaign event

The Democrat says the event was designed to discuss "sensitive issues."

ByMichael Pyskaty
August 17, 2018, 5:31 PM

Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday defended banning the press from a public town hall held last Sunday.

Replying to a reporter who questioned why the event was closed, she tweeted, "Our community is 50% immigrant. Folks are victims of DV, trafficking, + have personal medical issues. This town hall was designed for residents to feel safe discussing sensitive issues in a threatening political time. We indicated previously that it would be closed to press.”

She said future town halls would be open in a second tweet.

In a story first reported by the Queens Chronicle, her campaign manager, Vigie Ramos Rios, said the ban stemmed from the press attempting to question Ocasio-Cortez after a community meeting in the Bronx, despite the campaign saying ahead of time that there would be no question or interview opportunities after the event. Rios said that the candidate was “mobbed” by reporters, leading to the campaign to restrict the press from covering an event last Wednesday and Sunday.

“We wanted to help create a space where community members felt comfortable and open to express themselves without the distraction of cameras and press,” campaign spokesman Corbin Trent said in a statement to the Chronicle. “These were the first set of events where the press has been excluded. This is an outlier and will not be the norm. We’re still adjusting our logistics to fit Alexandria’s national profile.”

Ocasio-Cortez is the Democratic nominee for New York’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. She upset longtime congressman and party leader Rep. Joe Crowley in June’s primary election, propelling her to national fame.

The campaign did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment.

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