Ocasio-Cortez apologizes to Hikind for blocking him on Twitter

Homeland Security
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks during the House Oversight subcommittee hearing on deportation of critically ill children at Capitol Hill in Washington, on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Monday she is sorry for blocking a former Brooklyn elected official from her Twitter account after he was critical of her.

In a statement, the Democrat said she had reconsidered her decision, as part of the settlement of a federal lawsuit that Dov Hikind had brought against her this year.

“Mr. Hikind has a First Amendment right to express his views and should not be blocked for them,” she said. “In retrospect, it was wrong and improper and does not reflect the values I cherish. I sincerely apologize for blocking Mr. Hikind.”

Hikind, a former New York state Assemblyman, said he was blocked from Ocasio-Cortez’s extremely popular @AOC campaign account, which has 5.7 million followers, after he criticized her comments comparing border detention camps to concentration camps.

Hikind was pleased with the representative’s comments. “I couldn’t ask for much more at this point,” he said.

He said he hoped it would be the beginning of a dialogue between himself and Ocasio-Cortez.

Hikind had filed his lawsuit on First Amendment grounds this year. It came after a federal appeals panel had said President Donald Trump couldn’t block people who criticized him from his Twitter account.

That panel said the majority of Trump’s comments on his account were official and by blocking someone critical of him, he was silencing them and violating the First Amendment.

Ocasio-Cortez uses her Twitter account to engage with people in a number of ways, including on policy.

She said she reserves the right to block people from her account who engage in harassment.

— Deepti Hajela