From left: President Donald Trump and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Trump, 74, was delivering remarks at a Whirlpool facility in Clyde, Ohio, when he began to rail against left-wing environmental policies and turned his attention to the 30-year-old lawmaker about 45 minutes into his speech.
The president began by criticizing Ocasio-Cortez's large-scale environmental plan, the Green New Deal, which he said “was conceived by a young woman AOC — AOC plus three, I say."
"AOC, that’s a real beauty, isn’t it?” Trump said. “She knows as much about the environment — do we have any young children here? — as that young child over there. I think he knows more. And she certainly knows nothing about the economy."
Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to the president directly, but she retweeted others' defense of her educational background. She majored in economics and international relations while graduating cum laude from Boston University in 2011.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Trump's latest statement adds to his lengthy history of focusing on people's physical appearance in a professional context, particularly women.
He has repeatedly referred to people who displease him as "real beauties," in what defenders say is a jab at their character — not their looks.
Still, the president has long been criticized for making dismissive remarks toward women throughout his career, including attacks on fellow political candidates, actresses, models and news anchors, among others.
In May, Trump lamented that women reporters at the White House weren't acting like 1950s movie star and sitcom housewife Donna Reed.
After Trump's comments about a pair of CBS reporters, who are women, were widely criticized, CNN commentator Sophia Nelson tweeted: "He finally confirmed what we modern day women always knew: He expects women to be out of a 1950’s sitcom. In their place. Quiet. Home Makers."
President Donald Trump
The president's comments about Ocasio-Cortez came the same day the representative, a leading progressive in "The Squad" of other first-term congresswomen, introduced the Climate Equity Act alongside California Sen. Kamala Harris.
The proposed legislation calls on the federal government to take stronger considerations for low-income communities when making environmental decisions.
Trump slammed the Green New Deal — the broader initiative of which the Democratic-led bill is a part — as a "horrendous" piece of legislation. He also dismissed Ocasio-Cortez's environmental goals as a "Socialist takeover of the U.S. economy.”
In a statement about the newly introduced legislation, Ocasio-Cortez said: “Major environmental policies must be written by the black, brown, and low-income people who have been and will be disproportionately impacted by it, just like the Green New Deal envisioned," according to The Hill.