Political News

Ocasio-Cortez invites activist who confronted Jeff Flake over Kavanaugh nomination as State of the Union guest

Posted February 4, 2019 12:47 p.m. EST

— Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has invited Ana Maria Archila to be her guest at President Donald Trump's State of the Union address.

Archila, the co-executive director at the Center for Popular Democracy, is the activist who confronted Jeff Flake, who was then serving as a GOP senator, in an elevator on Capitol Hill in a viral moment over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The Center for Popular Democracy announced the news on Monday with a video featuring Ocasio-Cortez, and Archila and the congresswoman's office confirmed the invitation to CNN. It was first reported by The Intercept.

In the video, Ocasio-Cortez tells Archila that she bought them matching pins with the message "well-behaved women rarely make history." The congresswoman tells Archila "we can wear them on Tuesday," the day of the President's address to Congress.

The now famous confrontation, which was broadcast on CNN, took place after Flake had said he planned to support the nomination despite the fact that Kavanaugh had been accused by Christine Blasey Ford of a past sexual assault. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations.

"He needed to understand that women feel incredibly enraged about the thought of our stories, of our experiences of surviving sexual violence being dismissed, laughed at, disbelieved, and I think I just felt a great sense of urgency and I think I saw in his face that he could not escape the emotion," Archila later told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Monday that she is "proud to announce" that Archila will be her guest, saying that her action helped "elevate the stories of survivors everywhere."

Archila responded by saying in a tweet that she is "filled with hope" by Ocasio-Coretz's "fierce spirit & her relentless belief that we all deserve to live with dignity & share in the abundance of our country."

Inviting guests to the State of the Union offers congressional lawmakers a chance to send a pointed message during the speech that takes place annually in the House chamber before a joint session of Congress.

A number of congressional Democrats have already announced they are bringing guests whose presence will serve as a way to criticize the administration and the President's agenda.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon announced last week, for example, that he will bring a mother and daughter who were separated at the US-Mexico border last year as guests. The decision is intended to "highlight the human suffering caused by President Trump's child separation policy," a news release from the senator's office stated.

After the viral elevator confrontation, Flake called for a delay in voting on the nomination until an FBI investigation into the allegations against the nominee could take place. Ultimately, however, the now-retired senator voted in favor of elevating Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.