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AOC to Media: Cover Rent Strikes Like Anti-Lockdown Protests

AOC to Media: Cover Rent Strikes Like Anti-Lockdown Protests
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) talks with reporters at the US Capitol, as the House readies for a historic vote on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. - President Donald Trump faces becoming only the third US leader ever to be impeached on December 18, 2019 with the House of Representatives set …
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Tuesday challenged the media to cover Friday’s “#CantPayMay” rallies and rent strikes across the country like they covered the “liberate” protests.

“If you’re a news outlet who spent time &effort covering protesters demanding we risk workers’ lives for a root touch-up, consider spending time on the #CantPayMay strikes across the country &ask what Congress is doing to protect ppl from foreclosures + evictions,” she tweeted. “Just a thought!”

Ocasio-Cortez participated on Monday in a virtual town hall with the Housing Justice for All group and challenged corporatist New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) to cancel rent payments for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

If you’re a news outlet who spent time &effort covering protesters demanding we risk workers’ lives for a root touch-up, consider spending time on the #CantPayMay strikes across the country &ask what Congress is doing to protect ppl from foreclosures + evictions.

Just a thought! https://t.co/kwr3q3WziS

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 28, 2020

According to Vice, the strikers want the pro-Wall Street governor to “cancel rent and mortgage payments for four months or the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, whichever is longer.” The state’s moratorium on evictions is reportedly set to end on June 20.

“People aren’t striking because they don’t feel like paying rent, people are striking because they can’t pay rent,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It doesn’t matter how many threatening text messages a landlord or a building sends to their tenants. It doesn’t matter how much you threaten legal action. It doesn’t matter how much you intimidate anybody. People can’t pay. You cannot coerce someone into doing something doing that they cannot to do. There is no money in the bank. People need to feed their kids. We cannot be evicting.”

Ocasio-Cortez also revealed that she has had private conversations with Cuomo about the issue and is not afraid to “escalate and make” more public requests to put pressure on the notoriously corporatist governor.

“Privately, I have had personal conversations with the governor asking him to do this. I have had them by phone. We’ve had them with our policy teams. And so if the next step is to now escalate and make these requests publicly, I don’t mind doing that,” she said. “I’ve picked up the phone. We’ve had these meetings. And we need to make sure that rent cancellation happens on the state and federal level.”

The New York Democrat said the housing crisis shows also that “our whole damn system is broken.”

Ocasio-Cortez challenged the media to cover the strikers after numerous polls found that a majority of Americans oppose the “liberate” protesters who have been defying stay-at-home orders.

A CBS News poll released last week found that 62 percent oppose the protesters, including a plurality of Republicans (46 percent).

In addition, the poll found that just seven percent of Americans think President Donald Trump should keep encouraging the protesters. Just 13 percent of Republicans and just 25 percent of those who support the protests think Trump should keep egging on the protesters.

A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released last week found that 60 percent of Americans oppose the protests compared to just 22 percent who support the “liberate” protesters. The Yahoo News/YouGov pull also found that a plurality of Republicans (47 percent) do not support the protests.

As Yahoo News noted, “the public’s dismissive attitude toward them reflects a deeper sentiment: Americans strongly disagree with those who claim the country is ready to reopen for business.”

This CBS News survey was conducted April 20-22, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 points. The Yahoo News/YouGov poll was conducted April 17-19 and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

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