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Ocasio-Cortez says Republicans don’t think she’s a ‘lightweight’

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said her job as a lawmaker has gotten easier as she’s gained respect and confidence in Washington.

The 29-year-old lawmaker said it took a few months to adjust to her grueling, heavily-scrutinized new life in Washington.

“The first three months or so of my term were just emotionally exhausting, like I was worried sick every single day,” she told Vogue in a story published Wednesday. “It was like pure exhaustion. I would go 12 hours without eating.”

But the freshman progressive said she was underestimated, particularly by her Republican colleagues, when she first arrived in the US House nearly six months ago.

“I do think that when I first got here, almost everyone thought I was a lightweight,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Republicans really tried to fuck with me, for lack of a better term.”

Read more: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemns Joe Biden for ‘waxing nostalgic’ about working with racist segregationists

Ocasio-Cortez regularly slams Republican critics online, and has also used her allotted time during congressional hearings to criticize her colleagues across the aisle.

But her critics are also quick to attack her, including most recently when GOP Rep. Liz Cheney accused Ocasio-Cortez of disgracing herself by calling US-run migrant detention facilities concentration camps.

But the Ocasio-Cortez insists Republicans have stopped interrupting her during committee hearings in a show of respect — or fear.

“I let them have it, then it probably happened three or four times before they stopped interrupting me ever again,” she went on.

Some of the most conservative Republicans are looking to borrow some of Ocasio-Cortez’s star power. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Tea Party conservative, provoked a flurry of media attention when he announced his desire to work with the New Yorker on a ban on members of Congress becoming lobbyists.

A few weeks later he offered to work with Ocasio-Cortez to make birth control available over-the-counter.

Ocasio-Cortez called her unexpected alliance with Cruz “ super bizarre,” but later said she’s “extraordinarily excited” to work across the aisle.

“You can be radical and you can be respectful — and I know that many people may think that that’s not cool. But I have a genuine desire to connect and to convince,” she told Vogue. “And I actually think that it’s more possible than people give credit for in this institution.”

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