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A right-wing writer who crowdfunded $100,000 to repair the Puerto Rico home of AOC's grandmother says she declined to accept the money

Published by Business Insider on Sat, 05 Jun 2021

<p><img src="https://static6.businessinsider.com/image/5f74cf7974fe5b0018a8e4ec-2000/GettyImages-1156118387.jpg" border="0" alt="AOC alexandria ocasio cortez" data-mce-source="Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images" data-mce-caption="Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., attends a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, July 17, 2019."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>A right-wing writer crowdfunded over $100,000 after launching a campaign for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's grandmother.</p><p>Matt Walsh, a writer with conservative outlet the Daily Wire, began the <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-aocs-abuelas-ancestral-home'utm_source=customer&amp;utm_medium=copy_link&amp;utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1">GoFundMe</a> on Friday after criticizing Ocasio-Cortez for "allowing" her grandma to live in dire conditions.</p><p>Ocasio-Cortez earlier this week tweeted out that her grandma is ill and hasn't yet received hurricane relief in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which hit the US territory more than three years ago. In her tweet slamming former President Donald Trump over delayed relief in Puerto Rico, the New York lawmaker shared photos showing bare living quarters with ceiling tiles peeling off and buckets set up around a room to catch dripping water.</p><p>"This is her home. Hurricane Mara relief hasn't arrived. Trump blocked relief $ for PR," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.</p><div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en" data-cards="" data-conversation=""><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Just over a week ago, my abuela fell ill. I went to Puerto Rico to see her- my 1st time in a year+ bc of COVID.<br><br>This is her home. Hurricane Mara relief hasnt arrived. Trump blocked relief $ for PR.<br><br>People are being forced to flee ancestral homes, &amp; developers are taking them. <a href="https://t.co/wnRxLalA2D">pic.twitter.com/wnRxLalA2D</a></p> Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) <a href="https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/1400150275676160001'ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 2, 2021</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><p></p><p>Walsh accused Ocasio-Cortez of "virtue-signaling" and living large while her family needs help.</p><p>"Shameful that you live in luxury while allowing your own grandmother to suffer in these squalid conditions," Walsh <a href="https://twitter.com/MattWalshBlog/status/1400160069652713478">tweeted</a> in response to Ocasio-Cortez.</p><p>Within hours of going live, Walsh's campaign reached its goal of $48,990 within several hours. Ocasio-Cortez's grandmother has declined to accept the money, according to Walsh, who spoke with Insider. The campaign raised over $104,000 before GoFundMe shut it down, he said, and the money will be returned in full to each donor.</p><p>In a tweet in reply to Ocasio-Cortez, Walsh asked the New York rep to DM him details so he can send her grandma the raised funds.</p><div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en" data-cards="" data-conversation=""><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hi <a href="https://twitter.com/AOC'ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AOC</a>, we are raising money to help your abuela. It's been inspiring to see the response so far. Can you send me a DM so that I can get the necessary information to ensure that this money makes it to your grandmother' Thank you!<a href="https://t.co/F1N0Jxgnxg">https://t.co/F1N0Jxgnxg</a></p> Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) <a href="https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/1400868017643397124'ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 4, 2021</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><p>Walsh told Insider AOC "ignored us" when he reached out over Twitter asking for the information to transfer funds over.</p><p>Walsh on <a href="https://twitter.com/MattWalshBlog/status/1401161206430371843's=20">Twitter</a> wrote that GoFundMe in an email said the family has "made clear they will not be accepting the funds raised."</p><p>After Walsh started the GoFundMe, <a href="https://twitter.com/benshapiro/status/1400861489083342848">#HelpAbuela</a> began trending on Twitter.</p><p>Ocasio-Cortez posted photos of her grandmother's home to illustrate the dire conditions in Puerto Rico post- Hurricane Maria. She faulted Trump for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/22/hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-trump-delayed-aid">delaying</a> and <a href="https://www.vox.com/2019/1/17/18186818/trump-puerto-rico-hurricane-funds">denying</a> aid to the island after the catastrophic hurricane.</p><p>"What's happening to Puerto Ricans is systemic," she said in her tweet.</p><div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en" data-cards="" data-conversation=""><p lang="en" dir="ltr">And for the record - my abuela is doing okay. Its not about us, but about whats happening to Puerto Ricans across the island.<br><br>She had a place to go to and be cared for - what about the thousands of people who dont'</p> Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) <a href="https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/1400161274051371008'ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 2, 2021</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><p>Ocasio-Cortez's office also didn't immediately respond to an email from Insider.</p><p>But in a tweet to Walsh, Ocasio-Cortez stressed that her grandma is doing okay and she is trying to raise awareness that Puerto Rico needs aid.</p><p>"My abuela is okay," she said. "But instead of only caring for mine &amp; letting others suffer, I'm calling attention to the systemic injustices you seem totally fine w/ in having a US colony."</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/right-wing-writer-raises-100000-for-aoc-grandma-virtue-signaling-2021-6#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/racist-origins-marijuana-prohibition-legalization-2018-2">How racism contributed to marijuana prohibition in the US</a></p>
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