In her first major primetime TV interview since taking office, newly-sworn in US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t mince words in describing her view of President Donald Trump.
When asked by CBS News contributor Anderson Cooper if she felt Trump was a racist, the Democratic congresswoman was unequivocal – yes.
“Yeah, no question,” she said during an the CBS 60 Minutes interview.
When pressed for specifics, Ms Ocasio-Cortez accused Mr Trump of using “dog-whistle” words to appeal to white supremacists.
She also referenced Mr Trump’s controversial handling of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned deadly in May 2017.
Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old legal assistant, was killed when white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr slammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
In the wake of Heyer’s death, Mr Trump was criticised for appearing to lay blame on both sides.
"You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides," Mr Trump said.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez shocked many in the US political world when she defeated a long-time Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley in the New York primary and went on to become the youngest woman to be elected to congress.
The self-described Democratic Socialist has since garnered nation-wide support among progressive Democrats in the US while also being a target of Republicans.
The White House responded to Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s comments on 60 Minutes by accusing her of being ignorant on the matter, and said that Mr Trump has repeatedly condemned racism and bigotry.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez doubled down on her comments by saying that Mr Trump is a symptom of a bigger problem in the US.
“I think he’s a symptom of a problem… The president certainly didn’t invent racism but he certainly has given a voice to it and expanded it,” she said.