WATCH: AOC Blasts GOP Reps Who Voted Against Juneteenth, Thanks ‘White Men’ Who Said ‘Okay, Fine, We’ll Vote For This’
New York U.S. House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez laughs at a progressive fundraiser on August 2, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) slammed lawmakers who voted against making Juneteenth a federal holiday while thanking the “white men” who said, “okay, fine, we’ll vote for this.”

In an interview with The Hill outside of the Capitol building, Ocasio-Cortez said that the fourteen House members’ negative vote was “pretty consistent with, I think, the Republican base.”

She also linked the vote to Republicans “trying to fight against teaching basic history around racism and the role of racism in U.S. history” — presumably a reference to conservatives’ opposition to critical race theory.

“There’s a direct throughline from that to denying Juneteenth,” continued the thirty-one-year-old lawmaker. “The day that is widely recognized and celebrated as the symbolic kind of day to represent the end of slavery in the United States.”

Ocasio-Cortez thanked the “plenty of wonderful allies” — namely “the white men in the Republican caucus that said, okay, fine, we’ll vote for this” — who helped to approve the federal holiday.

Last week, the Senate voted unanimously to pass the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act,” which commemorates June 19 — the day on which news of slavery’s conclusion reached African-Americans in Galveston, Texas — as a “legal public holiday.”

Fourteen Republicans — Andy Biggs (AZ), Mo Brooks (AL), Andrew Clyde (GA), Scott DesJarlais (TN), Paul Gosar (AZ), Ronny Jackson (TX), Doug LaMalfa (CA), Thomas Massie (KY), Tom McClintock (CA), Ralph Norman (SC), Mike Rogers (AL), Matt Rosendale (MT), Chip Roy (TX), and Tom Tiffany (WI) — voted against the legislation in the House of Representatives.

Though Massie fully supported “creating a day to celebrate the abolition of slavery,” he noted that “naming this day National Independence Day will create confusion and push Americans to pick one of those two days as their Independence Day based on their racial identity.”

Gosar likewise argued that the holiday would worsen racial divisions: “We have one Independence Day, and it applies equally to all people of all races.”

Rosendale concurred: “This is an effort by the Left to create a day out of whole cloth to celebrate identity politics as part of its larger efforts to make ‘critical race theory’ the reigning ideology of our country.”

Indeed, some progressive-leaning localities are celebrating Juneteenth instead of Independence Day. For instance, the city of Evanston, Illinois, recently canceled Fourth of July festivities based on “concern for public health” while permitting celebrations for Juneteenth and “Pride Month.”

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