Former Donald Trump campaign advisor Steve Cortes is, apparently, extremely traumatized after seeing a photo of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ (D-N.Y.) boyfriend wearing sandals while out to lunch with her in Miami—so much so that he circled the feet in yellow highlighter and called them “gross” on Twitter.
In the unimaginably graphic photo, AOC’s partner, a man named Riley Roberts whom Vogue describes as an “easygoing redhead,” wears a very normal pair of Birkenstocks without socks. The congresswoman is maskless, because she is eating lunch and drinking cocktails with her boyfriend and sitting approximately six feet from him outdoors. But conservative media, being obsessed with AOC as they are, took the opportunity to accuse her of some kind of hypocrisy.
AOC—who rarely talks about her boyfriend (because she was elected to make laws and her private life is irrelevant)—has interpreted the controversy to be about the fact that Republicans are “mad they can’t date me” and “projecting their sexual frustrations onto my boyfriend’s feet.”
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I mean, she’s right: It’s true that Republican men have been bizarrely obsessed with AOC since she ousted the powerful male Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley in 2018, and the fixation does often appear to be somewhat sexual. She was 29 at the time that she was elected, and it’s certainly unusual to see a conventionally attractive, telegenic woman in her 20s among a sea of old white dudes in Congress. Plus, she’s a democratic socialist, and what combination of qualities could be more threatening to a man who only cares about preserving his own money and power? What happens when you find yourself physically attracted to someone who wants you to be taxed fairly so that other people can eat?
More importantly, we must note that Riley Roberts never asked for his feet to be the subject of public scrutiny and does not deserve this discourse. As someone whose feet were stalked and posted without my consent on a celebrity foot fetish website, I can personally attest to how unnerving the situation is. Cheers to AOC for sticking up for her man’s innocent tootsies—I hope her tweet has brought immense shame to this once kind of relevant guy named Steve.