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Liberal Ocasio-Cortez, Republican Kasich spar online over future of the Democratic Party

Both political figures are slated to give speeches at the Democratic political convention.
Image: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, John Kasich
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.Getty Images/Democratic National Committee

She’s on the left, he’s on the right — and now Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich are trading barbs in the middle of the all-virtual Democratic National Convention together.

The two politicians — who were both given speaking slots at the convention — clashed online ahead of their remarks, exchanging criticism about the future of the Democratic Party. The spat exposes a rift as the Democratic Party pushes a unity message by showcasing both liberals within their party and several Republicans unhappy with President Donald Trump.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News published Monday afternoon, Kasich, who was among that handful of Republicans to speak Monday night at the Democrats’ convention, took aim at Ocasio-Cortez, a star of the progressive movement who will speak at the convention Tuesday night.

"People on the extreme, whether they're on the left or on the right, they get outsized publicity that tends to define their party," Kasich told BuzzFeed News. "You know, I listen to people all the time make these statements, and because AOC gets outsized publicity doesn't mean she represents the Democratic Party."

Ocasio-Cortez wasted no time in responding, tweeting criticism that Kasich “doesn’t get to say who is or isn’t representative” of the Democratic Party.

"It’s great that Kasich has woken up & realized the importance of supporting a Biden-Harris ticket. I hope he gets through to GOP voters,” she tweeted.

“Yet also, something tells me a Republican who fights against women’s rights doesn’t get to say who is or isn’t representative of the Dem party,” she added.

In his speech Monday night, Kasich seemed to appeal to disaffected Republicans to possibly widen the coalition that could send Biden to the White House and make Trump a one-term president.

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"I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country," he said. "That’s why I’ve chosen to appear at this convention. In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times."

He did not mention the president by name, but said the administration has led the country down a path of "division, dysfunction, irresponsibility, and growing vitriol,” which is why he is backing Biden, who he called “a good man, a man of faith, a unifier.”

Ocasio-Cortez will speak to the convention on Tuesday. Some voters have expressed frustration that she was given only 60-seconds for her address, less time than Kasich was given.