AOC, Justice Democrats silent on Tennessee candidate Odessa Kelly's pro-violence statements
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Justice Democrats and members of Congress linked to the group have been silent after news that Odessa Kelly, a progressive congressional candidate from Tennessee backed by Justice Democrats, has a history of inflammatory social media posts, including calls for violence against Republican lawmakers.
Fox News' inquiries to the offices of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota were not returned at the time of publication. Fox News' inquiry to Justice Democrats was also not returned at the time of publication.
Kelly, who is staging a primary challenge against Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., went on Facebook the day of President Biden's inauguration and posted a list of suggested agenda items for the new administration's first 100 days. Those included standard Democratic wishes for stimulus checks, packing the Supreme Court and student loan forgiveness, as well as jokes about attacking GOP leaders.
"Day 9: Allow Pelosi to hire the best pimp that Memphis or Detroit has to offer to Smack tha [emoji] outta Ted Cruz and the rest uv’em...(y’all know the ones)!" she wrote.
Odessa Kelly. (Reuters)
Also on the list were suggestions that Kelly specifically said were in jest, such as "Day 4: Blow Up Maralago," referring to Trump's Florida resort and residence, and "Day 5: Disappear Mitch to some secret CIA prison."
Aside from her jokes, Kelly's Facebook history includes an April 2012 post about how she was attending a speech being delivered by anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and a May 2020 post declaring, "If you vote for Trump, YOU ARE A RACIST!"
Justice Democrats spokesperson Alexandra Rojas praised Kelly on Tuesday after she launched her campaign.
"As someone who has spent her life as a public servant and a community organizer, @OdessaKellyTN is exactly the kind of Democrat we need in Congress," Rojas wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Kelly and Cruz sparred on Twitter on Tuesday after he described her as "the angry, violent Left."
"You told people to storm the Capitol. Then they listened to you and did. Get outta here with this. I can’t wait to get to Washington and take on Ted Cruz’s agenda of division, greed, and straight up clownery. It’s time for fundamental change," Kelly wrote on Twitter.
The Tennessee candidate said Wednesday that her campaign has already raised over $100,000.
"Odessa's fundraising numbers after launch are significant. AOC raised just $60k in her first six months during the 2018 cycle, and Jamaal Bowman hit the $100k mark after his first *week* in the 2020 cycle. The infrastructure for progressive primary challengers keeps growing," Justice Democrats spokeman Waleed Shahid wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
Kelly is looking to join progressives like Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., who were elected to Congress after defeating veteran moderate Democrats. Kelly's campaign website describes her positions as consistent with the far-left wing of the Democratic Party, calling for the Green New Deal, "Medicare-for-all" and a ban and registry for assault weapons.
Fox News' Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.