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Steve Bannon praises Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: ‘Grit, determination’



Steve Bannon, the right-wing thinker and former chief strategist to President Donald Trump, has given gushing praise to an unlikely recipient: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Bannon, in an interview with Politico published on Wednesday, said that Ocasio-Cortez, widely known as “AOC”, has a competitiveness and ability which he admires.

“AOC has what I call ‘gameness’ or competitive heart — the combination of grit, determination, fighting spirit that you can’t coach,” Bannon said.

“You either have it or you don’t, and she has it big league.”

Then-White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on cyber security in January 2017.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The two could hardly be more different politically. Ocasio-Cortez is a self-described democratic socialist who became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress on policy ideas like Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. She has openly called Trump racist.

Read more: Steve Bannon is setting up a foundation to spread far-right propaganda across Europe

Bannon is the former chairman of far-right Breitbart News, pushed Trump towards “America-first” policies, warned that “women are gonna take charge of society,” and is now spearheading a campaign to boost far-right parties across Europe.

Other conservative voices told Politico that they could admire Ocasio-Cortez for her effectiveness, even though they don’t share her political views.

Conservative activist Mike Cernovich told Politico: “I think her policies and everything are a disaster but I just look at her effectiveness.

“No one’s more effective than her right now.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez waves to the crowd after speaking at Women’s Unity Rally in New York City on January 19, 2019.
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Ocasio-Cortez’s stratospheric political rise has earned her many fans on the left and detractors on the right.

Her ability to share both relatable life tips, and the inner workings of Congress on social media, have made her a new model for how politicians can use social media — even leading her to host a Twitter class for Democrats.

Read more:2020 Democratic contenders are following Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s lead by turning to Instagram Live to reach voters

She told The Hollywood Reporter in January that, perhaps, Trump had avoided tweeting about her because he fears he may lose a social media scuffle with her.

“I think as nuts as this guy is, one thing he does have an expertise in is media and branding and marketing. And I think, I don’t know, maybe he thinks that he’s met his match,” she said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez walks onto the Senate floor on January 24, 2019.
Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Ocasio-Cortez has resisted being closely compared with Trump, however.

Recently, a senior GOP source told The Hill: “They are the same f—ing person. Think about it.”

Ocasio-Cortez responded by saying that it was an “unoriginal comparison.”

“While we’re both popular on Twitter … and we’re plain spoken, that’s it,” she said. “Aside from that, I think it’s an irresponsible comparison given the fact that he’s actively trying to assert mythology and hurt immigrants, and we’re trying to advance a progressive agenda, single-payer health care and a living wage.”

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