Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined a chorus of liberals in castigating Vice President Mike Pence for his alleged sexism and “mansplaining” toward Sen. Kamala Harris during Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate.
“I’m speaking”: Pence and Harris, a California Democrat, repeatedly interrupted each other during the event, which was moderated by USA Today’s Washington bureau chief, Susan Page.
- Harris responded to Pence’s interjections by making faces and by admonishing him, “I’m speaking” – which instantly inspired feminist-themed memes and merchandise.
- At one point, Page scolded both candidates for speaking over her, snapping, “I did not create the rules for tonight. Your campaigns agreed to the rules for tonight’s debate with the Commission of Presidential Debates. I am here to enforce them.”
How did liberals react? Democratic politicians, liberal activists and mainstream journalists were unified in their criticism of Pence’s debate conduct on Twitter – but they diverged on how exactly Harris had been mistreated.
- Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat: “Pence demanding that Harris answer *his* own personal questions when he won’t even answer the moderator’s is gross, and exemplary of the gender dynamics so many women have to deal with at work.”
- Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat: “Patriarchy/misogyny is taking a beating tonight.”
- Susan Glasser, New Yorker staff writer: “Pence has no hesitance to ignore and interrupt both of the two women he’s on stage with, he’s just not as loud about it as [President Donald] Trump.”
- Dan Rather, former CBS News host: “I don’t think VP Pence’s mansplaining and over-talking is doing a lot to narrow the gender gap, unless it is also turning off more men as well.”
- Cathy Yan, filmmaker: “Pence needs to stop mansplaining, dominating and gaslighting the women tonight.”
ABC News host George Stephanopoulos during a post-debate panel offered: “I think a lot of people were noticing some mansplaining going on tonight.”
Ocasio-Cortez, after admonishing Pence for asking questions, followed up with a tweet objecting to his use of her famous monicker on the debate stage.
- “For the record … it’s Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez to you,” she said.
Counterpoint: Many conservatives meanwhile, dismissed sexism allegations against Pence as an attempt to by Harris supporters to cover for her defeat in the debate.
- “Pence dominated Kamala so thoroughly and convincingly that the media’s only available tactic is to accuse him of being a sexist for debating a woman at a debate,” tweeted the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh.