WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has never been to the White House during her two terms in Congress.
The Latina Congresswoman of Puerto Rican descent, who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens, wasn’t invited by President Donald Trump during her freshman term.
President Joe Biden hasn’t had Ocasio-Cortez by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue either.
“It’s crazy,” said a member of the Congressional Progressive Staff Association who has worked closely with Ocasio-Cortez’s team. “It’s like House leadership and the White House want to pretend like she doesn’t exist.”
Latino Rebels asked Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Raul Ruiz (D-CA) outside the White House, after meeting with the President on immigration and student loans, why Ocasio-Cortez had not been invited.
“Well, I think that the CHC leadership was invited to come,” Ruiz said. “So we just came.”
While Ocasio-Cortez does not technically hold a leadership role in the Hispanic Caucus, she is one of the most popular members of Congress, with an online following several times larger than those of the seven CHC members who attended the meeting with President Biden.
During negotiations over the Build Back Better Act last year, Ocasio-Cortez was similarly not invited to the White House by the leadership of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which she is a member but doesn’t hold a formal leadership role.
House progressives attended multiple meetings at the White House to discuss the ultimately doomed legislation that Ocasio-Cortez had been at the forefront of fighting for online and in closed-door meetings with colleagues in the House of Representatives.
“I love her,” said a junior White House official on the condition of anonymity. “So I’m not sure what the issue has been with inviting her.”
Beyond tense policy negotiations, members of Congress are often invited to the White House for parties, dinners, and ceremonies—like the anti-lynching bill signing ceremony that saw Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), another high-profile member of the progressive “Squad” in the House, invited as a spectator.
“I didn’t realize she’d never been invited,” said a second White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity and considers themselves a “big-time” fan of Ocasio-Cortez. “Maybe we should invite her directly next time instead of relying on other people to bring her along.”
Latino Rebels has asked Ocasio-Cortez on multiple occasions over the last year whether she will visit the Biden White House. The Congresswoman has dodged such questions.
“We have a lot going on,” said a member of Ocasio-Cortez’s staff who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Obviously we think she should be included, but visiting the White House is not our priority.”
Pablo Manríquez is the Washington correspondent for Latino Rebels. Twitter: @PabloReports