Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's first House speech breaks online viewing records

Jack de Menezes

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s first speech on the floor of Congress broke digital viewing records for C-SPAN, Capitol Hill’s public affairs network, garnering over a million views on Twitter in roughly 12 hours.

The progressive freshman Gouse member took to the floor on Wednesday to decry Donald Trump’s demands for border wall funding to be included in the next federal spending bill — a battle that has spurred the longest government shutdown in American history.

“The truth of this shutdown is that it's actually not about a wall,” the New York Democrat said. “The truth is, this shutdown is about the erosion of American democracy and the subversion of our most basic governmental norms.”

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“It is not normal to hold 800,000 workers’ paychecks hostage. It is not normal to shut down the government when we don’t get what we want,” she added. “And it is certainly not normal to starve the people we serve for a proposal that is wildly unpopular among the American people.”

The remarks, which arrived on day 26 of the federal shutdown, received nearly 1.16m views in the 12 hours after it was posted by C-SPAN to Twitter.

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Howard Mortman, the network’s communications director, announced the record-breaking figures on Thursday, noting the most-viewed Twitter video posted directly by a sitting senator belonged to Kamala Harris. It featuring the moment the California Democrat questioned then-Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez has become one of the most-watched freshmen lawmakers in the new US Congress after a historic 2018 midterm election brought a wave of female representatives to the governing body.

She currently boasts nearly 2.5m Twitter followers, and routinely uses the social platform to discuss policy, as well as call out her critics.