GOP congressman chickens out on dare after Ocasio-Cortez calls his bluff


Rep. Andy Barr invited Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to visit coal mines in Kentucky, but now he is walking back the offer.

Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) is having second thoughts about the invitation he extended to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to visit Kentucky coal mines.

On Friday, Barr walked back his blanket invitation, demanding Ocasio-Cortez apologize to Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) before she accompany him to the Bluegrass State.

Ocasio-Cortez dismissed the stunt, telling the Lexington Herald Leader through a spokesperson that she doesn't "need Congressman Barr to meet with coal miners and have a town hall" but would "love his participation" if she does visit his backyard.

The cowardly episode by Barr touches on two unrelated political issues: the Green New Deal and anti-Muslim bigotry by Crenshaw.

The Green New Deal is an ambitious set of policies aimed at creating new jobs in the green energy sector and fighting to reduce the impacts of climate change. In late March congressional hearing, Barr made an impromptu invitation to Ocasio-Cortez to accompany him to southeastern Kentucky and meet with coal miners who would be impacted by the Green New Deal.

"I'd be happy to," Ocasio-Cortez immediately told Barr. She then talked about her recent visit to the state, and how the Green New Deal calls for fully funding the pensions of coal miners throughout the Appalachia region. "We want a just transition," to a green energy economy, Ocasio-Cortez added, saying she wants to invest in jobs across that region.

But rather than follow through on his invitation, Barr balked.

Barr is apparently upset that Ocasio-Cortez would dare call out the recent anti-Muslim bigotry spewed by Crenshaw. Crenshaw, a veteran, invoked the 9/11 terror attacks to portray Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as insufficiently patriotic. After attacks by Crenshaw and then Trump, Omar, a Somali refugee and one of two Muslim members of Congress, received substantial and credible death threats.

Ocasio-Cortez defended Omar and used her social media platform to call out Crenshaw for using 9/11 as a political prop while refusing to cosponsor the 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund.

Ocasio-Cortez's defense of Omar did not sit well with Barr, who accused Ocasio-Cortez of lacking civility.

"We're very proud and thankful for (Crenshaw's) service, but what we are talking about is his fanning the flames of hate," Ocasio-Cortez's spokesperson said. But for Barr, calling out hatred is apparently worse than fanning hatred in the first place.

Barr claims to care about the coal miners in Kentucky, but would rather engage in political theatrics than follow through on his invitation to Ocasio-Cortez.

Talk about a lack of civility.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.