Hurricane Ian, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in U.S. history, swamped southwest Florida on Sept. 28, turning streets into rivers, knocking out power to 2 million people and threatening catastrophic damage farther inland.
In the days before Ian made landfall, a social media post claiming a screenshot of a tweet allegedly posted by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in August 2019 was “real” went viral on Twitter. The tweet has garnered over 21,000 likes since it was shared on Sept. 26, 2022.
“I see people are rushing out to fill up their cars for this hurricane at the gas station. This wouldn’t be an issue if they had electric cars. If the power is out for a week how are they going to get gas? We need to start planning ahead and moving forward,” the Aug. 30, 2019, tweet purporting to be from Ocasio-Cortez said.
Did Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweet about electric cars being better than gas during hurricanes?
No, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not tweet about electric cars being better than gas during hurricanes.
WHAT WE FOUND
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addressed the tweet on Aug. 31, 2019, when she told former White House aide Sebastian Gorka that she did not post it, a screen capture of the exchange on Archive.today shows. The original tweet also does not show up on Ocasio-Cortez’s profile on Politwoops, an internet tool by ProPublica that tracks politicians’ deleted tweets.
In addition to Ocasio-Cortez debunking the false claim herself, the font in the phony tweet does not match the way posts on Twitter normally look. For example, “retweets” and “likes” are both in all caps in the fake tweet but in real tweets, the words are stylized in sentence case. The date is also displayed wrong — in real Twitter posts, the time is shown before the date with a dot icon separating the two.
VERIFY found that the claim has been circulating on social media since at least late August 2019, when Hurricane Dorian was gaining strength off the coast of Florida. Many gas stations in the state were overwhelmed as evacuees rushed to stock up before the storm made landfall, VERIFY sister-station WTSP reported at the time.
VERIFY contacted Ocasio-Cortez’s press team for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.