Caruso-Cabrera challenges AOC, writes open letter for PT face-to-face debate

Caruso-Cabrera challenges AOC, writes open letter for PT face-to-face debate
Photo: Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Bronx, NY, June 14, 2020 - Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a Congressional Candidate for NY-14, has written an open letter challenging Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,AOC, to the only face-to-face debate in New York organized by Parkchester Times, having realized that AOC has officially refused the invitation sent to her by the organizer.

"I have learned from the Parkchester Times debate organizer of your refusal to participate in the only face-to-face political debate of this primary season. As you know, this debate was scheduled to take place in St. Helena’s Church on June 17th under special rules to protect us all from COVID-19, including ample social distancing and no audience physically present at the church," Caruso-Cabrera wrote.

She accused Ocasio-Cortez of being a coward, dodging critical questions she raised in the earlier virtual debate.

"I can understand why you might be reluctant to debate me in person – I raised a number of questions during the first two virtual debates that you probably didn’t want your constituents to hear – why at the height of the COVID pandemic you were the ONLY Democrat to vote against funding for COVID testing, against funding for hospitals, and against funding for small businesses here in the Bronx and Queens? Why did you stay in your luxury DC apartment with a Whole Foods in the basement instead of coming home when people in this district were dying? Why did you lead the effort to block 25,000 good-paying jobs from coming to Queens?" Caruso-Cabrera noted.

Caruso-Cabrera therefore admonished AOC to show up on June 17 as the same debate platform was what brought to her current position. 

"That being said, I urge you to reconsider. I would urge you to recall that two years ago, it was former Rep. Joe Crowley who refused to show up to debate YOU in the Parkchester debate – sending a surrogate in his stead, which you called 'a bizarre twist.' 

What I cannot understand, therefore, is why you would deprive your constituents with this opportunity to participate more fully in the democratic process by robbing them of the only face-to-face debate of this primary," she noted.

Caruso-Cabrera further accused AOC of presenting baseless excuses for rejecting the face-to-face debate invotation when asked by NY Post. 

"I was confused by your justification to the NY Post in skipping this debate, with your spokeswoman dismissively pointing out that the first two virtual debates are “still available online for voters." Do you not realize that many in our communities can barely afford food, let alone computers and iPhones? Surely if you have been doing your job you must know that many children in our communities who are not as fortunate as you had a hard time with remote learning because their families can’t afford electronic smart devices and computers," Caruso-Cabrera said.

"If you dodge or skip this debate, you will affirm the suspicion I have heard shared by many that underneath the celebrity image you’ve cultivated, you do not understand this community, you do not truly fight for it, and you do not care about it enough to show up," she added.

"I entreat you to reconsider and to show up at St. Helena’s Church on June 17th and debate me face-to-face. I understand you might be frightened.  Your constituents will be watching after all. Do you have the guts to show up, or will AOC continue to be M.I.A.?" Caruso-Cabrera concluded.