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Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

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

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

The campaign, which launched after Ocasio-Cortez criticized failed disaster relief in Puerto Rico, was shut down by GoFundMe, Matt Walsh told Insider.

A right-wing writer crowdfunded over $100,000 after launching a campaign for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's grandmother.

Matt Walsh, a writer with conservative outlet the Daily Wire, began the GoFundMe on Friday after criticizing Ocasio-Cortez for "allowing" her grandma to live in dire conditions.

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.

"This is her home. Hurricane María relief hasn't arrived. Trump blocked relief $ for PR," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.


Walsh targeted Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist, by accusing her of "virtue-signaling" and living large while her family needs help.

"Shameful that you live in luxury while allowing your own grandmother to suffer in these squalid conditions," Walsh tweeted in response to Ocasio-Cortez.

Within hours of going live, Walsh's campaign reached its goal of $48,990. 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.

In a tweet in reply to Ocasio-Cortez, Walsh asked the New York rep to DM him details so he could send her grandma the raised funds.


Walsh told Insider AOC "ignored us" when he reached out over Twitter asking for the information to transfer funds over.

Walsh on Twitter wrote that GoFundMe in an email said the family has "made clear they will not be accepting the funds raised."

After Walsh started the GoFundMe, #HelpAbuela began trending on Twitter.

Ocasio-Cortez posted photos of her grandmother's home to illustrate the dire conditions in Puerto Rico post- Hurricane Maria. She faulted Trump for delaying and denying aid to the island after the catastrophic hurricane.

"What's happening to Puerto Ricans is systemic," she said in her tweet.


Ocasio-Cortez's office also didn't immediately respond to an email from Insider.

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.

"My abuela is okay," she said. "But instead of only caring for mine & letting others suffer, I'm calling attention to the systemic injustices you seem totally fine w/ in having a US colony."

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