Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro challenged Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to a debate, offering to pay $10,000 to her campaign or the charity of her choice if she accepts. The Bronx candidate, (who ran on a platform of Democratic Socialism), became the upset winner of the Democratic primary in NY’s 14th Congressional district, has said that Republicans shy away from debates with her. Shapiro, the 34-year-old lawyer and political commentator who has authored seven books and was an editor-at-large for Breitbart News, has called her bluff.
Last Wednesday, Shapiro posted a video requesting a debate. “Miss Ocasio-Cortez, I’m really excited that you’ve been elevated to that position and I would love to have a real conversation with you about the issues. You’ve noted that you think Republicans are afraid to debate you or talk to you or discuss the issues with you,” Shapiro said. “Not only am I eager to discuss the issues with you, I’m willing to offer $10,000 to your campaign, today, for you to come on our Sunday special,” he continued. “We can have an hour long conversation about all the topics under the sun, really probe your belief system.”
The next day on Thursday, she took to twitter to reply. Instead of a simple no, she posted, “Just like catcalling, I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions. And also like catcalling, for some reason they feel entitled to one.”
The game continued when Shapiro tweeted back, “but I’m Orthodox”, intending to prove that he would not playout any “bad intentions”. On Friday, as reported by Fox News, Shapiro said there was “no question” that Ocasio-Cortez was playing the “victim card.” “And the fact that she feels the necessity to go to this particular card, right, to play the ‘I’m a female and therefore I’m being victimized, this is like catcalling’ … the fact [that] she goes there instead of just saying ‘You know, I’m not interested in debate,’” Shapiro continued, “the reason she didn’t say the latter is because she didn’t want to look like she was afraid.”
“I mean, if she were to get into a discussion with somebody who asks her tough questions, I don’t think she has the information or the philosophy at her disposal to actually answer those questions well,” Shapiro said. “And she knows that, which is why her best move here would have been either to just ignore or to say no. And then everybody would’ve moved on with their life.” Shapiro, who is an avid supporter of Israel, would have likely brought up the topic of her support for Hamas and her harsh condemnations towards Israel. In a recent PBS interview, she called Israel “occupiers” “of Palestine”, though after being further prompted she admitted “..I am not the expert in geopolitics on this issue”.
Her supporters were quick to point out that a candidate has no requirement to debate non-candidates, and she is free to choose not to accept a discussion with anyone she feels will be hostile to her opinions. She also likely knows, however, that she doesn’t have a strong chance of persuading undecided independents, but is riding on the leftist liberal ticket.
“Well every request is a request. All she had to say here was, ‘Nah.’ That would’ve been fine, I mean she’s got that prerogative,” said Shapiro.
By Ellen Cans