Is AOC's aunt a Trump supporter? Dem Rep accused of 'exploiting' abuela

Is AOC's aunt a Trump supporter? Dem Rep accused of 'exploiting' abuela
New York Rep Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez aunt has denied her claims that Donald Trump is to blame for her grandmother's condition in Puerto Rico (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/ Scott Olson/Getty Images)

New York Rep Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) kicked up a storm around the situation in Puerto Rico in early June and now it appears it may not be as bad as she makes it sound. The Democratic Rep blamed former president Donald Trump for blocking aid to the territory, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017. As it turns out, AOC's aunt, came out and said Trump was not to blame.

Residents of the island were left struggling without power after a fire broke out at a power plant, leading to a state of emergency being declared. It's the latest setback to the island left in ruins following Hurricane Maria. The devastating hurricane in 2017 turned into political football after AOC's visit to the island in late May. In a series of tweets, she slammed the Trump administration for blocking relief and making it hard to qualify. In response, conservative commentator Matt Walsh opened a GoFundMe and managed to raise over $100,000 in less than 12 hours. 


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Her outburst, however, didn't seem to have the support of her aunt. The Daily Mail managed to track down AOC's grandmother Clotilde Rivera to a community outside San Juan. There, they were met by someone claiming to be her aunt, and to everyone's surprise, she offered a completely different take on the situation.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a news conference to introduce the "Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2021" at Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill March 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Aunt refuses to blame Trump, calls out local leaders

When they approached the house, The Mail was greeted by a woman who refused to give her name. she did say, "I am her aunt. We don't speak for the community." According to The Mail, Rivera lives in the coastal city of Arecibo, 40 miles from San Juan. Ironically for AOC, it seems like her aunt didn't feel Trump was the issue. "It's a problem here in Puerto Rico with the administration and the distribution of help. It is not a problem with Washington," she said. The woman added, "We had the assistance and it didn't get to the people." 

That is in contrast to AOC, who claimed that "Hurricane María relief hasn’t arrived. Trump blocked relief $ for PR." In another tweet, she said, "I want to be clear - while Trump admin had a major role, it wasn’t just them. La Junta, local policies, etc were all on the same page: policies that pushed out local families." The Mail attempted to verify the photos AOC posted along with those tweets, but was denied. They noted, "the flat roof has a blue tarp covering some of it, still a common sight on houses in Puerto Rico that have not been fully repaired from Maria damage." 

The photos she shared led to a lot of trolling online, led by Walsh who noted that AOC had a sizeable net worth and even owned a Tesla, so she should have been able to pay for the repairs. Walsh started a #HelpAbuela campaign on Twitter, that led to more mocking of the Representative. It's unclear if Rivera supports Trump, with a lack of any political posters or signs in the damaged community. However, the aunt's view seems to be quite different from others in the community. 

The Mail interviewed several neighbors who seemed to agree with AOC. "We agree with what AOC is saying. There still isn't enough help," 81-year-old Marcelina Ramos said. Another neighbor Sandra Jimenez said, "I did all the paperwork, they came and checked the house, but I received no money. It's been so long now that I have no faith I will get help." However, the municipal government has a very different view of the situation.

Planning director Leslie Orama denied AOC's tweet that aid hadn't arrived, and said, "that's not the case." Instead, she said the limited amount of relief, and the challenge of providing evidence was the reason for the resident's woes. "What's happening is not that the money is not there, it's just the requirements to get the help makes it difficult to receive it," she said.

Ramon Torres stands in what is left of his sister-in-law's home that was destroyed when Hurricane Maria passed through on September 27, 2017 in Corozal, Puerto Rico. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

'She lied about her' says Twitter

AOC's aunt's words quickly made their way to social media, with many slamming AOC for "lying" about her grandmother. One person tweeted, "So not only did @AOC exploit her abuela, she also lied about her." Another replied, "wonder what AOC is thinking now that her falsified claims against Trump got refuted by her own Aunt !" One person asked, "Was the abuela story even real?"





A former Trump administration employee tweeted, "AOC’s tia blows up her transparent political opportunism ." One person said, "AOC’s Aunt > AOC This is the actual truth."




One person jokingly tweeted, "She really isn’t gonna get any help from AOC now." Another trolled, "Uh ohhhhh AOC gonna get triggered."




The New York Rep. has frequently touted her Puerto Rican heritage and even makes regular trips home. While her mother now lives in Florida, a large number of her relatives still live in Puerto Rico. It's unclear if AOC actually donated any money to help her aunt or if Walsh's GoFundMe money made its way there. 

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