Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Blasts Senator For Quoting Mussolini ‘Like It’s A Hallmark Card’
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas apparently wanted to tweet something out against the pitfalls of socialism. Instead, he quoted a line from a fascist dictator, and got called out for it hard on social media — including by rising star on the left, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York).
Cornyn on Sunday morning took to the social media platform and tried to assert, through a quote made famous by former Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini, that “the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become.”
It was a line meant to chastise government-run systems of economics, but many questioned why Cornyn felt the need to cite a man who was part of the Axis powers (and thus, an enemy of the United States) during World War II.
“We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become.” Benito Mussolini
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) February 24, 2019
Among those who were critical of Cornyn’s tweet included self-described Democratic Socialist Ocasio-Cortez, who took the senator to task for citing the philosophies of Il Duce.
“In case you missed it, while the GOP is calling paying a living wage ‘socialism,’ a Republican Senator full-on quoted National Fascist Party leader and Hitler ally Benito Mussolini like it’s a Hallmark card,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet of her own.
In case you missed it, while the GOP is calling paying a living wage “socialism,” a Republican Senator full-on quoted National Fascist Party leader and Hitler ally Benito Mussolini like it’s a Hallmark card.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 25, 2019
Cornyn’s attempts to cite Mussolini may have been a veiled warning in a different, albeit still problematic, way, as a warning against autocratic centralized rule. Yet conservatives have tried to rewrite history on Mussolini for many years, arguing that his style of fascism was a leftist brand of the term — an errant retelling of how the dictator actually ruled.
Mussolini was, in fact, a member of the Italian Socialist Party before being kicked out and starting his own fascist party. But his “reforms” for his nation in the run-up to and after becoming leader were decidedly conservative, including ending labor unions, attacking leftist groups with violence, and breaking up workers’ rights groups during their meetings, according to the Washington Post.
Furthermore, Mussolini encouraged violence against socialists before he became prime minister of Italy in the 1920s. His party burned down socialist and communist buildings, and even seized control of local governments within Italy, according to History.com.