Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded sharply after President Donald Trump said she “knows nothing about the climate,” during the final presidential debate in Nashville, Tennesee.
Mr Trump criticised his opponent Joe Biden over his planned expenditure on measures to tackle the global climate crisis, known as the Green New Deal.
As the two presidential candidates sparred over the climate change plan, Mr Trump name-dropped Ms Ocasio-Cortez (universally known as AOC) and said, "you know who developed it (the Green New Deal)? AOC plus three," the president said. The president often uses the phrase “AOC plus three” to refer to the New York congresswoman and her three progressive Democratic colleagues, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who are otherwise collectively known as The Squad.
Mr Trump said: "They know nothing about the climate. I mean she's got a good line of stuff but she knows nothing about the climate, and they're all hopping through hoops for AOC plus three. Not a real plan, it costs $100 trillion."
Ms Ocasio-Cortez immediately took to Twitter to correct the president. "It's actually AOC plus 115 because that's how many House and Senate members have cosponsored the most ambitious climate legislation in American history," she wrote.
She also shared a photo of her and three other members of the so-called Squad, writing: "Sisterhood is everything."
In another tweet, she said, “if someone told me 3 years ago, while I was waitressing to help my family stay afloat, that in a few short years an unhinged President of the United States would be repeatedly saying my name at the 2020 debate, I would’ve brought them some water and told them to sober up.”
During the debate, Mr Trump said that Mr Biden and the Democrats want to tear down buildings and turn bigger windows into smaller ones. “As far as they are concerned, if you’d have no window, that would be a lovely thing,” said Mr Trump, calling the Green New Deal, “the craziest plan that anybody has ever seen.”
“And this wasn’t done by smart people,” added the incumbent president.
Environmentalists rounded on the various climate claims made by Mr Trump during the debate, however. Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media, said the president was “stuck in an alternate universe”.
Mr Biden said on Thursday night that global warming represented an “existential crisis” that required immediate action.
To Mr Trump’s gibes about the Green New Deal, he said: “Give me a break. I don’t know how he comes up with these numbers, I mean $100 trillion dollars. Give me a break.”
He added that their plan was endorsed by every environmental and labour group, “because they know that the future lies in us being able to breathe and they know it’s good jobs getting us there.”
Commenting on how solar and wind energy are the fastest growing industries in the country and “can pay up to 45-50 bucks an hour”, Mr Biden took a dig at the president, and said, “He thinks windmills cause cancer.”
Mr Trump countered saying that he knows “more about the wind” than his challenger does. “It’s extremely expensive. Kills all the birds. It is very intermittent,” he concluded.