Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez indicated she likely won't make a White House run, after playing coy about whether she'll challenge Sen. Chuck Schumer next year.   

'I struggle with it because I don't want little girls watching or anything like that to like lower their sights or anything in that direction. But for me, I feel that if that was in the scope of my ambition it would chip away at my courage today,' Ocasio-Cortez answered when asked by CNN's Dana Bash if she'd ever run for president. 

Ocasio-Cortez continued by explaining that her 'courage at the present moment is more important,' as she's able to take tough and controversial positions that she believes are right. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) explained to CNN's Dana Bash (right) while she'll likely never make a White House run

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) explained to CNN's Dana Bash (right) while she'll likely never make a White House run 

AOC said that if running for the presidency was in the 'scope of my ambition it would chip away at my courage today'

AOC said that if running for the presidency was in the 'scope of my ambition it would chip away at my courage today'

During the special, CNN's Dana Bash pointed out that a Post-it note outside of AOC's office encouraged her to run for president

During the special, CNN's Dana Bash pointed out that a Post-it note outside of AOC's office encouraged her to run for president 

'I think what happens a lot in politics is that people are so motivated to run for certain higher office that they compromise in fighting for people today,' the New York lawmaker told Bash as part of the CNN anchor's new series, 'Being ... .' 


'And the idea is if you can be as clean as a slate or as blank as a slate that it makes it easier for you to run for higher office later on,' she continued. 'And I've decided that being me is more important than being anything else.'

But that doesn't mean she's closed the door on seeking higher office. 

Earlier in the interview Bash asked the New York Democrat whether she'd take on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for his seat next year.      

'Here's the thing, is that - I know it drives everybody nuts,' AOC said. 'But the way that I really feel about this and the way that I really approach my politics and my political career is that I do not look at things and I do not set my course positionally.'


'And I know there's a lot of people who do not believe that,' she continued. 

'But I can't operate the way that I operate and do the things that I do in politics while trying to be aspiring to other things or calculating to other things,' she added. 

Schumer won his first Senate election in 1998 and has been serving ever since. In 2021 he became the first Senate majority leader from New York.

Ocasio-Cortez is a relative newcomer who shot to progressive stardom after beating 10-term incumbent and Pelosi protégé Joe Crowley in a 2018 Democratic primary.   

But instead of saying whether she'd do it again Ocasio-Cortez told the CNN host, 'I make decisions based on what I think our people need and my community needs.' 

'And so, I'm not commenting on that,' she finished. 

Schumer has been in the Senate for more than two decades and recently became the first majority leader from New York (pictured at the Capitol Sunday)

Schumer has been in the Senate for more than two decades and recently became the first majority leader from New York (pictured at the Capitol Sunday)

AOC has said she and Schumer have a good working relationship

AOC has said she and Schumer have a good working relationship

She ended her answer to the CNN host by saying she wasn't 'commenting on that'

She ended her answer to the CNN host by saying she wasn't 'commenting on that'

The midterm elections are less than a year and a half away in November 2022.

'I've never thought about this as like a decision that needs to be made or not to be made,' AOC said. 'Honestly my focus is taking temperature on how things are going in Washington right now.' 

'I really do not try to make these kinds of decisions out of a sense of personal ambition,' she added. 

Bash interjected, 'But there's also a calendar.' 

'Yeah I know,' the congresswoman said laughing. 'Yeah, I don't know.'  

'And for what it's worth, Sen. Schumer and I have been working very closely on a lot of legislation and that to me is important, right?' she added. 'So we shall see.'  

Ocasio-Cortez handily won her first general election in November 2018 for New York's 14th Congressional district and was easily re-elected for her second term in late 2020.

And it's not the first time Ocasio-Cortez teased a challenge to Schumer's seat. 

She told Punchbowl News in January that she is 'indecisive' and still trying to figure out her role within the Democratic Party and Washington politics.

 'I'm a no bulls**t kind of person,' Ocasio-Cortez told Punchbowl News in a Q&A published Monday morning.

'I'm not playing coy or anything like that,' she said in reference to dodging questions on potentially primarying Schumer, a three-term senator who served as a U.S. representative from New York for 18 years before that.

Schumer's allies worry about a potential primary challenge from AOC

Schumer's allies worry about a potential primary challenge from AOC

'I'm still very much in a place where I'm trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress, our [political] process, and our country actually address the issues of climate change, health care, wage inequality, etc.,' AOC continued.

She said she is less concerned with focusing on moves within the party, whether that be to another chamber or to a leadership position.

'For me, the positional stuff, these are just tactical decisions,' she explained. 'Those choices have a lot more to do with 'the board', not just one person. Not just me as an individual.'

Asked if she thought Schumer was doing a good job, Ocasio-Cortez said that's 'a hard thing to say' before deflecting to a more collective stance.  

The relative newcomer shot to political stardom with her progressive firebrand approach

The relative newcomer shot to political stardom with her progressive firebrand approach


'We've had to deal with a fascist president and Mitch McConnell. There's this thing, 'Are we doing a good job?' There are things you can do in the minority. There are also things you couldn't do with this minority because Senate rules changed.'

'I like to think of myself as a good-faith actor and not make unfair critiques,' she continued. 'But I do wonder – on the one hand, we pushed it to the limit rules-wise, on other things, you look back and there are things that are hard.'

She also said she wasn't sure if Democrats losing the House would impact her decision on whether to run a primary race against Schumer but teased again that she was 'very indecisive.' 

But she said their relationship was an 'open' one where the two colleagues speak regularly.

Those in Schumer's inner circle are concerned AOC could launch a bid and take out the 70-year-old senator in a primary race.

Schumer has said he thinks she would run instead for governor or lieutenant governor.

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