New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in on the coronavirus pandemic saying that "Inequality is a preexisting condition" when it comes to the disparate impact the disease has had on minority communities on Wednesday on The View"
“Ultimately, it's inequity that's the preexisting condition,” she said. “You can't just go to someone and tell them, ‘Hey. You should have had health care this whole time when you're working an hourly job and your employer doesn't give it to you'.”
Ocasio-Cortez said that unlike a natural disaster, a pandemic doesn’t happen in a vacuum and has widespread impacts on every community, not just one geographical pocket.
“When a pandemic like this hits or even any natural disaster like a hurricane, like what we saw in hurricane Katrina or hurricane Maria, they don't happen in a vacuum,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “they happen when communities are disproportionately located on the front line. Here in New York City, about 55% of our front line workers, including grocery store workers, delivery workers and more, are black and brown.”
“It’s tragic, but it is also no surprise that it’s impacting the vulnerable the most,” she said.
She told co-host Joy Behar that the federal response to coronavirus is an argument toward Democratic socialism, saying that everyone needs equal access to health care.
“Everyone wants to fight against these policies until they have been personally impacted," she said. “ I think that vulnerability, that personal vulnerability, really brings a lot of people around, and what we're seeing right now is that guaranteeing health care in this country is not about giving charity to people. It affects all of us.”
Ocasio-Cortez partnered with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, asking for federal funds for funerals and burial costs for victims of coronavirus in New York.
Ocasio-Cortez, who was one of the most prominent and outspoken supporters for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' now shuttered presidential bid, told co-host Whoopi Goldberg that she is ready to have a conversation with former Vice President Joe Biden about the Democratic response to President Trump’s White House tenure.
“My community especially has been so impacted, and it's, you know, for a lot of communities, this is an issue of life and death. We have had kids in cages. We have had a pandemic response that happened way too late that has cost us lives. We have people that don't have access to critical care that they need. I think it's really important that we rally behind our Democratic nominee in November,” she said.
She told Behar that although progressives may be disappointed that Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee, that one of two candidates will be elected.
“One of these two candidates are going to be elected president of the United States. It's either going to be Joe Biden or it's going to be Donald Trump, and I think it's important to, you know, communicate some empathy,” she said.
Though she will support the Democratic nominee, she thinks that Biden can go further to appease a progressive agenda.
“What I also think is really important is that the way to, I think, move in a unifying direction as I said before is that unity isn't a feeling. It's a process, and I think that Biden can go further,” she said. “Lowering medicare to 60 by five years, is still more conservative than what Hillary Clinton proposed in 2016.”
She said she is looking for more substantial conversations surrounding immigration, health care and climate change-- and telling young people that the federal government has a plan for them.
Earlier Wednesday morning, in an interview with POLITICO , she said Biden's team has reached out to her and that she hopes his campaign will clarify some of his stances on health care and climate change policy.
In a January interview with New York Magazine, she said that "in any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party."
Ocasio-Cortez, one of the youngest members of Congress, announced Wednesday morning that her re-election efforts had raked in more than $2.7 million in the first quarter of 2020.
The progressive also set up a political action committee to help elect progressive women in congressional races across the country.
On the topic of a potential vice president pick, Ocasio-Cortez’s name has been floated by progressives as a potential choice for Biden, who said he would choose a female running mate, but she is too young to assume the role.
Goldberg asked her what other women she would like to see on the ticket with Biden come November.
“We have a lot of talented women of color who are leaders in this country,” she said. “To have our first female vice president, and to have that be a woman of color is a significant milestone, but the other thing that I think is important is, what does this woman value? What policies does she champion?”
“That's the difference between us just talking about a token and us talking about substantive and credible leadership, she said. “I would love that woman to be progressive as a counterbalance politically.”