On Saturday, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized President Trump's tweets at a town hall hosted at PS Q 16 in Corona, Queens.
"All you need to do is hear what the president did this week to know this is not about immigration at all,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Because once you start telling American citizens to quote 'go back to your own countries,' this tells you that this president's policies are not about immigration, it's about ethnicity and racism."
Security was heightened at the event as small group of protesters remained outside; however, most in of the 200 Queens residents in attendance were supporters of the Democratic representative from the Bronx.
“The women are right to go to the far left to make sure we send a clear message to this president, we're not going to tolerate him anymore," said Queens resident Judy Cianciotto.
Not all the locals who attended the event were in lock step with Ocasio-Cortez, though. One person came to ask the congresswoman why she voted against a $4.6 billion House aide bill to address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. Mexico border.
"If we wanted a humanitarian bill, then we should have drafted a bill humanitarian-only bill," Ocasio-Cortez said in response.
Ocasio-Cortez again called for a reorganization of the Department of Homeland Security at the town hall, too. But some moderate constituents said they would like the representative to spend more time on local issues rather than on the national political stage.
"She's deterred so far away from the local issues that I don't know how we're going to reel her back,” said George Devolder, a Jackson Heights resident. “I think she's forgotten she represents district 14."
Ocasio-Cortez, though, says she represents a community of immigrants and current humanitarian issues affect her district and immigrants around the world.
"We do not have to acquiesce to the president's racism because he is using racism. He is stoking white supremacy and he is allowing, frankly, nazi groups unchecked because that is a key part of rousing his base. We cannot allow and give into that we have turn up turn out an electorate. "
The congresswoman also brushed off analysis and polling that suggests the president's message is resonating with voters in the rust belt. She said like her own campaign, Democrats must inspire and turnout a fresh electorate and continue denouncing racist language.