The Fox News host Tucker Carlson attacked Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday night, claiming the US congresswoman was not a woman of colour.
“She’s a rich entitled white lady,” he said.
In return, the New York Democrat, popularly known as AOC, said: “This is the type of stuff you say when your name starts with a P and ends with dejo.”
Dictionary.com defines pendejo as “a mildly vulgar insult for ‘asshole’ or ‘idiot’ in Spanish”.
“Once again,” Ocasio-Cortez added, “the existence of a wife or daughters doesn’t make a man good. And this one is basura.”
Basura is Spanish for “trash”.
She also accused Carlson of sexual harassment.
Ocasio-Cortez’s mother is from Puerto Rico, her father from the Bronx. She has described herself as a woman of colour.
Carlson said: “No one ever dares to challenge that description, but every honest person knows it is hilariously absurd.
“There is no place on Earth outside of American colleges and newsrooms where Sandy Cortez” – Carlson’s derisory nickname for the New York congresswoman – “would be recognized as a quote, woman of color, because she’s not!
“She’s a rich entitled white lady. She’s the pampered obnoxious ski bunny in the matching snowsuit who tells you to pull up your mask while you’re standing in the lift line at Jackson Hole. They’re all the same. It doesn’t matter what shade they are.”
The leading provocateur in Fox News’ evening line-up was discussing a book about Ocasio-Cortez, Take Up Space: The Unprecedented AOC, written by Lisa Miller, a reporter at New York magazine.
Carlson said Miller’s book was “like a box of Fig Newtons. You know it’s wrong to open it, but the temptation is strong, and so we did.”
As the media watchdog Mediate put it, several of the passages Carlson read were “fawning in nature and weave mundane videos AOC has posted online – such as her assembling Ikea furniture – into a grand narrative about her life”.
In one passage, Carlson said, the congresswoman is described as “pointedly” saying into a camera, “I’m alone today”.
“Is it just us or does that sound like an invitation to a booty call?” Carlson said.
“Maybe one step from ‘What are you wearing?’ Either way it’s a little strange. It’s definitely over-sharing and yet, according to the book, over-sharing is the key to Sandy Cortez’s success.”
Ocasio-Cortez wrote: “Remember when the right wing had a meltdown when I suggested they exhibit obsessive impulses around young women? Well now Tucker Carlson is wishing for … this on national TV.
“You’re a creep, bro. If you’re this easy with sexual harassment on air, how are you treating your staff?”