The new members of the 116th Congress, which is set to be the most diverse in the history of the US legislative body, are currently going through their freshman orientation, and some of it has been pretty weird – and the wonderful thing is, because this new Congress contains some actual young people who know how to use social media, we’re getting an unparalleled look at what it’s actually like.
“Right now Freshman members of Congress are at a ‘Bipartisan’ orientation w/ briefings on issues. Invited panelists offer insights to inform new Congressmembers’ views as they prepare to legislate,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the representative-elect from New York’s 14th district who has become a wildly popular figurehead for progressives partly because her social media game is absolute fire, tweeted Thursday afternoon. “# of Corporate CEOs we’ve listened to here: 4 # of Labor leaders: 0”.
One of those corporate leaders appears to have been former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, who served President Trump first as director of the National Economics Council and then as chief economics advisor.
According to a tweet by Rashida Tliab, the representative-elect for Michigan’s 13th congressional district and so is at the orientation meeting with Ocasio-Cortez, Cohn told the incoming new class of representatives on Thursday: “You guys are way over your head, you don’t know how the game is played.”
Cringe-inducingly condescending tone aside, it is difficult to work out exactly what Cohn means by this strangely threatening statement. You may remember Cohn: most famously, during his tenure in the Trump White House he was the staffer who intervened by stealing a draft letter from the president which would have cancelled a trade agreement with South Korea as detailed in Bob Woodward’s book Fear – knowing that if Trump didn’t see it, he’d just forget about it. So perhaps he means that the new Congress needs to start sneaking paperwork from the president’s desk?
Either way, the new Blue Wave of young progressives who were among his audience were having none of it. “No Gary, YOU don’t know what’s coming,” Tliab tweeted. “A revolutionary Congress that puts people over profits.”