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Gloria Steinem calls Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez the 'personification' of hope

Aarthi Swaminathan
Finance Writer

Feminist author and activist Gloria Steinem credits President Donald Trump for the rise of women in politics, including Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Steinem, an icon and a champion of women’s rights, told Yahoo Finance’s Jackie DeAngelis at the MAKERS Conference that despite numerous allegations of Trump having several extra-marital affairs, there was a silver lining for women.

“He’s certainly motivated women by being terrible about women,” Steinem said. “He’s increased the political participation rate enormously by displaying in the White House pretty much everything that’s wrong with this country and all the biases against women.

Steinem — who at age 84 has spent much of her life fighting for women’s rights — had declared in 2016 that she rejected Trump as her president and that the presidency is “doomed to failure.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Gloria Steinem speaks onstage during the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Ocasio-Cortez personifies ‘hope that is coming’

Three years on, Steinem said that the concern over women’s rights has actually motivated several women — including Ocasio-Cortez — to ascend to power rapidly.

Steinem said: “I don’t know that she would have been in politics if it weren’t for the emergency we see now.... She is a symbol of the incredible talent and ideas and [the] ability to communicate politics as people experience it. I think she’s a great personification of the hope that is coming.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, center, speaks with demonstrators during the third annual Women's March near Columbus Circle in New York, U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman to serve in Congress and has been outspoken regarding her support for women’s rights.

At a rally in January, she said: “Last year we brought the power to the polls, and this year we need to make sure we translate that power into policy… this is the start of our advocacy… because we just captured the House, and now we’re going to show what we’re going to do with it.”

Immigration restrictions ‘drive me crazy’

Steinem also talked about immigration — the fire fueling the border wall debate — saying that “it drives me crazy that it’s not viewed as the positive that it is.”

Her argument was that the U.S.’s low replacement rate demanded more immigrants, who she said are also more law-abiding than non-immigrants.

A recent report by WalletHub estimated that immigrants in California contributed the most to the state, followed by New York and New Jersey — with immigrants in California ranking first in terms of socio-economic contributions.

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