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Ocasio-Cortez: Paul Ryan treated as ‘genius, her a ‘fraud’

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said there is a “double standard” in how she and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan were treated when they were first elected to Congress, even though they were elected at almost the same age.

The Democratic congresswoman-elect tweeted on Monday that Ryan was hailed as a “genius” when he was first elected in 1998, aged 28, but that she was “immediately” treated as a “fraud” when she won her New York’s congressional primary in June, also aged 28.

(She turned 29 between winning the primary and being elected to Congress in November.)

“Double standards are Paul Ryan being elected at 28 and immediately being given the benefit of his ill-considered policies considered genius; and me winning a primary at 28 to immediately be treated with suspicion & scrutinized, down to my clothing, of being a fraud,” she wrote.

A glowing profile from 2012 in the influential conservative New Republic magazine gives a sense of how Ryan was viewed when an up-and-coming lawmaker. Mark Neumann, who vacated the Wisconsin House seat that Ryan went on to win, called Ryan a “unique talent.” “There are very few people who have the ability to understand the math in budgeting and the ability to articulate it,” he said, according to New Republic. “Those are two skills that don’t often go together.”

Ocasio-Cortez was replying to a tweet by Vox editor-at-large Ezra Klein, who shared an article about the increasing federal deficit under Ryan, in which Klein said that Ryan had fallen short of his early promise.

Read More: Paul Ryan says one of his biggest regrets is the ballooning federal deficit. The evidence shows he has himself to blame.

Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, won her primary aged 28, and became the youngest-ever woman elected to Congress aged 29 in November.

She is considered a rising progressive star in the Democratic party and has been particularly outspoken in recent weeks as she prepares to enter the role, including criticizing her future colleagues for not paying interns and protesting the Harvard orientation for freshman lawmakers as a “lobbyist project.”

Read More: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams Harvard orientation for freshman lawmakers as ‘lobbyist project’ that hypes tax cuts for corporations

She has also hit back at criticisms of her appearance and said in November after a conservative writer criticized her clothes for looking too nice.

She said: “If I walked into Congress wearing a sack, they would laugh & take a picture of my backside. If I walk in with my best sale-rack clothes, they laugh & take a picture of my backside.”

She has also previously said that people on Capitol Hill keep assuming she’s an intern.

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