AOC announces that she's raised $2 million for Texas relief efforts in under 24 hours

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has raised more than $2 million for Texas relief efforts in under 24 hours, her office told Yahoo News on Friday.

Early Thursday evening, the New York Democrat encouraged her 12.4 million Twitter followers to donate money to five Texas charities working on the frontlines there. A rare winter storm brought snow and freezing temperatures to the state this week, costing dozens of Texans their lives and knocking out power and water for millions more.

Related: How to help people in Texas battered by winter storms

According to her office, the fundraiser crossed the $2 million threshold just before 11 a.m. ET Friday, securing hundreds of thousands of donations for Family Eldercare, Feeding Texas, Houston Food Bank, ECHO (Ending Community Homelessness Coalition) and the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center. The fundraiser has since added five more groups.

U. S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during joint announcement with U. S. Senator Chuck Schumer at 103rd Street Corona Plaza. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“Team AOC is launching relief efforts for Texas starting today,” the congresswoman tweeted. “Our first effort is a partnership w/ 5 Texas orgs getting on-the-ground relief to Texans ASAP. If you’re able, please donate here - it’ll split your contribution to all 5.”

Celia Cole, the CEO of Feeding Texas, told Yahoo News that the group has been “humbled” by the donations it’s received.

Related: ‘It’s a dire situation’: Texas residents say promised changes after previous severe winter weather never came

“Feeding Texas is humbled by the outpouring of support from people across the country. Hundreds of thousands of Texans are going to need help from their food bank in the days and weeks to come, on top of the millions already struggling to feed their families during the pandemic,” Cole said.

“We are particularly grateful to our elected leaders in Texas and Washington who are helping raise money for Texas food banks. These donations are critical to helping food banks keep their communities nourished and resilient through this crisis.”

The haul is a sign of the congresswoman’s social media reach. She tweeted the call for donations at 5:42 p.m. ET Thursday and announced she had reached $1 million just four hours later.

The fundraising efforts were launched the same day Texas Sen. Ted Cruz returned early from a vacation to Cancún, Mexico. In his initial statement, Cruz said he made the trip because his daughters and their friends were out of school and wanted to take a last-minute vacation. He went back to Texas amid fierce criticism and eventually admitted the trip was a bad idea.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) carries his luggage at the Cancun International Airport before boarding his plane back to the U.S., in Cancun, Mexico February 18, 2021. (Stringer/Reuters)
Sen. Ted Cruz at Cancún International Airport on Thursday. (Stringer/Reuters)

Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez are both prolific social media users and have repeatedly clashed since the congresswoman was elected in 2018. Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly called on Cruz, who objected to the certification of President Biden’s victory, to resign for his role leading up to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, telling the senator last month that “you almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago.”

Ocasio-Cortez has announced she will be traveling to Texas this weekend along with Rep. Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat who represents a Houston-area district. Biden said Friday he is planning to visit Texas but didn’t want to be a “burden” so he would make a decision early next week.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who lost to Cruz in the 2018 Senate race, has leveraged his organization in the state to reach out to senior citizens, noting that his group had made hundreds of thousands of calls to older Texans. On Thursday morning, O’Rourke told MSNBC of Cruz, “I understand he’s vacationing in Cancún right now when people are literally freezing to death in the state he was elected to represent and serve.”

“I don’t know how much we were expecting from him, to begin with,” O’Rourke told Vanity Fair in an interview. “That guy wants nothing to do with government, or at least our form of it.”


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