Fact Check

Did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Say There's No Difference Between Billions and Trillions?

The young congressional candidate has already become the focus of satire and parody, not always in an obvious way.

Published Aug. 7, 2018

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Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the difference between billions and trillions of dollars is negligible because it just involves more zeros.

On 26 June 2018, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary in New York's 14th congressional district, defeating incumbent Joe Crowley. If she should similarly win the November 2018 general election, she would become the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

A month later, a Facebook user posted a now-deleted meme that quoted Ocasio-Cortez as saying she had no concerns whether Medicare cost billions or trillions of dollars, because she either didn't understand or was dissembling about the difference in magnitude between those numbers.

Many viewers (especially those who encountered the meme apart from its original context) came away thinking that the statement attributed to Ocasio-Cortez was -- or could be -- real. However, that the quote used in the meme was a fabricated one created as a parody was indicated by the comment that accompanied the meme's original posting on Facebook: "she deserves all the parodies. all. of. them."

The fabricated nature of the statement was specifically confirmed in another Facebook comment from the same poster:

Ocasio-Cortez was previously the subject of a fabricated video interview created by the Conservative Review television network (CRTV), which was also claimed to be satirical in intent:


Mackey, Robert.   "Fake Interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Was Satire, Not Hoax, Conservative Pundit Says."     The Intercept.   24 July 2018.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.