AOC defends decision not to attend Wednesday’s debate in person

AOC insisted Monday she’s “not skipping debates” like her predecessor, Joe Crowley, did to disastrous effect two years ago — as she defended her decision not to attend an in-person face-off with her primary challengers Wednesday.

First-term Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens/Bronx) took the stance that she can’t attend the debate because of coronavirus distancing rules, despite the fact that she’s been out and about at a George Floyd protest and other group events this month.

“The good thing is I’m not skipping debates. My predecessor, he had skipped debates until he was forced to show up,” she told The Post while campaigning in The Bronx on Monday.

“This one [Wednesday’s] is in-person, so we’ve had certain issues with that being done during phase one, if that would be violating the Phase One and Phase Two scheduled reopening by the governor. Which is why we’ve committed to virtual debates and are happy to participate in them,” she said.

Ocasio-Cortez has done two online virtual debates with her primary challengers, including one on May 18.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has allowed spaced gatherings of up to 10 people since mid-May.

The Parkchester Times-sponsored debate is the same one Crowley shirked in 2018.

But AOC was handing out masks to Floyd protesters in Queens on June 2 and hosted a socially distanced graduation party in a church parking lot Sunday — complete with free burgers, balloon animals and a DJ.

The congresswoman’s well-funded challenger, former journalist Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, accused the freshman rep of violating election law by hosting the bash next to an early voting site over the weekend.

“AOC directly violated the election law. She doesn’t pay her taxes. She said yes to a salary increase. Who wants this type of person in Congress when we’re all in trouble?” Caruso-Cabrera’s spokesman Hank Sheinkopf told The Post.

She later moved the party a block away. A rep for AOC did not return a request for comment on the alleged violation.

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