Monday night's first installment of the Republican National Convention was full of bizarre moments, but one of them in particular caught New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's eye for being particularly ignorant.
In her speech, Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, whose mother is Puerto Rican, waxed poetic about her identity as a "first-generation American." But Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, because Puerto Rico has been part of the United States for over 100 years.
And AOC wasn't about to let Guilfoyle's comment stand.
The woman the GOP picked as their “proud" Latina to tout “immigrant experience" didn't seem to know that Puerto Rico is already part of the United States.
It's quite on message, bc it reflects their belief that Latinos aren't real citizens, even when we are Native descendants. https://t.co/I7iU3yEGT0
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 25, 2020
In her response, Ocasio-Cortez criticized Guilfoyle and the Trump campaign for what she saw as an effort to undermine other Latinxs as not "real Americans."
"The woman the GOP picked as their 'proud' Latina to tout 'immigrant experience' didn't seem to know that Puerto Rico is already part of the United States."
"It's quite on message, bc it reflects their belief that Latinos aren't real citizens, even when we are Native descendants."
Indeed, Guilfoyle's characterization of herself and of her parents was rife with immigrant imagery and wording, which she used as ammunition to castigation the supposedly "socialist" platform of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
"As a first-generation American, I know how dangerous their socialist agenda is. My mother, Mercedes, was a special education teacher from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. My father, also an immigrant, came to this nation in pursuit of the American dream.
Now, I consider it my duty to fight to protect that dream."
While Guilfoyle's father is in fact an immigrant, having come to the United States from Ireland in the 1950s, her mother Mercedes was born a U.S. citizen. The Jones-Shafroth act, passed in 1917, granted citizenship to all Puerto Ricans born after April 25, 1898.
It wasn't only Ocasio-Cortez for whom Guilfoyle's speech raised an eyebrow.
My husband and his family are Puerto Rican. They aren't first generation Americans.... because Puerto Rico is an American territory. I feel like this has to be explained every few months and it makes me fear for what is being taught in our schools....
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) August 25, 2020
"Proud Latina" Kimberly Guilfoyle should know that Puerto Ricans like her mother Mercedes have been U.S. citizens since 1917. Therefore, she was not an "immigrant."
— Andrea González-Ramírez (@andreagonram) August 25, 2020
Here is Kimberly's full quote, for context:
"My mother Mercedes was a special education teacher from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. My father, ALSO AN IMMIGRANT, came to this nation in pursue of the American dream."
— Andrea González-Ramírez (@andreagonram) August 25, 2020
Been thinking about this part of Kimberly Guilfoyle's speech
1. If your mom is from Puerto Rico, you're not a “first-generation American"
2. Her father immigrated from Ireland so how did her parents experiences (In Puerto Rico and Ireland) teach her about the “Socialist agenda" pic.twitter.com/ujoDetpR7P
— A.P. Joyce (@AndrewPaulJoyce) August 25, 2020
And some were outright offended by Guilfoyle's comments.
Who born in PR refers to themselves as an immigrant if they're in the U.S.? Guilfoyle throwing her mother under the bus was so she can cater to the altright. Here she is posing with an actual nazi and a Proud Boy who many in the GOP hire as "security." https://t.co/k1opvXloqt
— Vote for Pirates! 🏴🏴☠️☠☮💜🧡💚🇺🇸 (@PPbyOlivia) August 26, 2020
Too many people like to refer to themselves as “Latina" when it suits them politically but in real life it's another story... https://t.co/j6SA7VD1cF
— Christopher Preciado (@CMPreciado) August 25, 2020
She failed her own history https://t.co/XQT0opNmzm
— Linda De Witt (@LindaDe05780670) August 25, 2020
Kimberly Guilfoyle yelled, screamed doom and gloom, was proud of her Puerto Rican mother who was an educator but forgot to mention how the #fakepresident blamed PR for the hurricane, didnt give them any aid, stimulus checks never came and wanted to trade PR for Greenland. Sellout
— [Doogie]---Radio Pro (@RadioDoogie) August 25, 2020
Kimberly Guilfoyle might have forgotten what @realDonaldTrump response to Hurricane Maria was. What a proud Puerto Rican ... here's some Bounty #RNCConvention2020 #TrumpsZombieArmy #TrumpChaos #Trump pic.twitter.com/kJgrqkkWG8
— Iammikesaunders (@iammikesaunders) August 25, 2020
While for others, the whole thing smacked of more status quo right-wing dishonesty and bigotry.
The GOP's whole message is if you aren't a Republican you are a communist. Also P.S republicans, Cuba wasn't a communist country.
— Christine Olivo For Congress 🧢 (@Christinefor24) August 25, 2020
MAGA doesn't consider Puerto Rican's U.S citizens.
— VOTE 🧢 (@_tkcinthelou) August 25, 2020
Nope. No posing as a child of an immigrant. She's as privileged as you can get.
Proud Latinas do NOT condone concentration camps for ACTUAL asylum seekers
They don't lie about their parents being immigrants to score political points.
And they DON'T DATE TRUMPS.
— Leia🇨🇴 (@TheSWPrincess) August 25, 2020
And, of course, there were some jokes.
My theory posits that she was referring to that nebulous period when the Greenland/Puerto Rico trade was being reviewed by the league 😂
— Haselrig (@Haselrig2) August 25, 2020
I'm 100% positive that Gavin Newsom will wake up this morning counting his blessings for divorcing Kimberly Gargoyle.
— Andrew Goss 👊USAF👊 (@Goss30Goss) August 25, 2020
Or she is a vampire, several hundred years old, and moved to mainland United States prior to 1917. https://t.co/vD9kptZKSF
— MagooAndPeepers (@SlamGass) August 25, 2020
In a statement submitted to Newsweek, Sergio Gor, chief of staff the finance arm of Trump campaign, of which Guilfoyle is vice chair, backed up Guilfoyle's comments.
"Along with millions of other immigrants, Kimberly's father immigrated to the United States. She is a proud daughter of an immigrant, and is the epitome of the American Dream."
Gor made no mention of Guilfoyle's mother or the claims Guilfoyle made about her in her comments.