Radio presenter Hugh Hewitt has apologised after describing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as “transgendered” on air.
Speaking on MSNBC, the contributor and host gave the 29-year-old a backhanded compliment, saying she was a “wonderful person” who is “sparkling with youthful energy, unmoved by her inexperience, confident in her lack of knowledge and completely charismatic”.
He then compared Ocasio-Cortez to former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Joe Biden has actually gone through the time machine and transgendered into Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This was Joe Biden—she is going to fill the Biden gap,” Hewitt said.
“The Biden gap concerned me. Some day Joe will leave the public stage and we will not have people who will say outlandish things. But now the Biden gap is filled.”
The radio commentator later apologised on Twitter, saying his description was a “bad word choice on a sensitive subject”.
Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest female member of Congress.
Ocasio-Cortez on trans rights
Earlier this month, the politician turned up on a viral Twitch livestream of Donkey Kong 64 to talk about trans rights.
UK-based YouTuber HBomberGuy (Harry Brewis) had raised more than $200,000 for transgender children’s charity Mermaids with a non-stop playthrough of the Nintendo 64 Donkey Kong game.
The stream, which had featured guests including Chelsea Manning, had been live for more than 50 hours when Ocasio-Cortez made a surprise appearance via a Discord call.
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She spoke about the importance of trans rights, adding: “Trans rights are civil rights are human rights.”
She addressed the lack of federal anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in the US, commenting: “It’s important that we do talk about these issues in the economic frame, but not let go of the fact that discrimination is a core reason for economic hardship.”
“Thank you for doing this work. I appreciate it. Everyone appreciates it,” she added.
“I’m so happy that we can have this spontaneous, joyous and supportive moments, and any one of us can be the source of it.”
After the stream, the Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “If you’d like to use this as a good moment to support the queer community, there’s a charity twitch stream going on for [Mermaids].