New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offered a fiery critique on Wednesday of the Trump administration’s shameless attempts to manipulate the upcoming 2020 Census by adding a citizenship question.
Speaking during a House Oversight committee hearing on the citizenship question—and whether or not to hold Attorney General William Barr and Treasury Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas—Ocasio-Cortez opened her remarks by pointing out that the Census is “one of the most vital and sensitive things that we do in our government” and that making changes is usually a five-year-plus process.
“What I want to know is why this question was added, why two years have been shaved off that five year process,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I want to know why we have skipped every normal, mandated procedure in testing how this question gets added in this census.”
Noting that there was hard evidence to link the census question with racist gerrymandering attempts by Republicans to boost their own electoral prospects, Ocasio-Cortez continued by taking aim at some of the worst ghouls of the Trump administration:
I want to know why people like Kris Kobach, with a documented history of overseeing effects—he has a resume of voter suppression techniques in the state of Kansas. I want to know why folks like that have their fingerprints all over the most sensitive census operations that we have as a United States government. This determines who is here, this determines who has power in the United States of America. That is what we want to know. I want to know about corruption. I want to know about the racism, and the very disturbing history that is here.
Ocasio-Cortez’s criticism of the Trump administration came just hours after the president invoked executive privilege to block Congress from seeing many of the documents subpoenaed from Barr and Ross.
“We are a co-equal branch of government,” a visibly agitated Ocasio-Cortez said. “It should be expected that when we ask a question, we get a response.”
“This is about the rule of law, this is about the respect of our institutions, and this is about the power of all of us, as a body, as a United States Congress, and the integrity of the government of the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez concluded.