Matt Walsh Raises $100K For Ocasio-Cortez’s Grandmother; GoFundMe Shuts Down Account

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GoFundMe has disabled donations to a fundraiser organized by The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh meant to help Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) grandmother repair her home in Puerto Rico, which was damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

In an email sent to Walsh Friday night, GoFundMe said they were “in touch with the beneficiary’s family and they made clear they will not be accepting the funds raised.”

“When a beneficiary doesn’t want to accept the funds that have been raised on their behalf, it is standard practice to turn off donations, then refund all donors,” GoFundMe added.

The message from GoFundMe appears to suggest that it may not have been Ocasio-Cortez’s grandmother who directly refused the funds, but someone else in the family.

The Daily Wire has reached out to the platform, asking if it is standard practice to allow one member of a family to deny funds to another family member in need. The platform did not respond by the time of publication of this article.

More than 5,800 people pledged to help Ocasio-Cortez’s grandmother, raising just over $100,000 in 10 hours before the fundraiser was shut down. All this in response to the congresswoman suggesting that rather than taking direct action to help her grandmother, the most important role she played in the situation was to decry “systematic injustice.”

“My abuela is okay. But instead of only caring for mine & letting others suffer, I’m calling attention to the systemic injustices you seem totally fine w/ in having a US colony,” she wrote.

On Twitter, Walsh posted the email he received from GoFundMe.

“UPDATE: “someone” in AOC’s abuela’s family told GoFundMe that she won’t take the money, even though AOC previously claimed that her grandma was in dire straits (and it was Trump’s fault). @AOC still hasn’t acknowledged this effort or thanked us,” Walsh wrote.

“Tragically this charitable effort has been sabotaged by forces outside of our control. Still I’m grateful for the outpouring of support for abuela, even if AOC isn’t. But questions remain: Why didn’t AOC help her own abuela? Why was our help turned down? We are left to speculate,” Walsh added. “In the end, our campaign raised 100 thousand dollars and could have solved a problem in ten hours that AOC couldn’t solve in four years. We can all be proud of that. As for abuela, all we can do now is pray.”

Walsh also posted an update to the GoFundMe page, which explained that GoFundMe would be issuing a refund to everyone who donated within 3 to 7 days. As Walsh made clear from the beginning, all of the money would be returned to those who donated if Ocasio-Cortez’s grandmother declined to receive the funds. Walsh himself will receive none of the funds.

Walsh decided to raise the funds after Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter about the squalid conditions in which her grandmother was living, posting photos of her grandmother’s hurricane-damaged home. Ocasio-Cortez took the opportunity to blame former President Donald Trump for her grandmother’s fate, saying the former president blocked aide to Puerto Rico following the devastating Hurricane.

“Just over a week ago, my abuela fell ill,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday. “I went to Puerto Rico to see her —  my 1st time in a year+ bc of COVID. This is her home. Hurricane María relief hasn’t arrived. Trump blocked relief $ for PR. People are being forced to flee ancestral homes, & developers are taking them.”

Ocasio-Cortez followed up her tweet by acknowledging that local politics were also to blame for her grandmother’s living conditions.

“I want to be clear – while Trump admin had a major role, it wasn’t just them. La Junta, local policies, etc were all on the same page: policies that pushed out local families. To turn this around, we need audits & get recovery relief to people ASAP, without the onerous strings,” she tweeted.

As The Daily Wire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo reported, Walsh questioned why Ocasio-Cortez, who earns more than $170,000 annually and drives a Tesla, has not offered aid to her own grandmother. The congresswoman and Walsh exchanged a few tweets, after which Walsh decided to start the fundraiser to help her struggling grandmother.

“As you’ve heard, [AOC]’s abuela is living in a dilapidated home that was ravaged by Hurricane Maria,” Walsh wrote on Twitter Friday. “AOC is unable to help her own grandma for whatever reason, so I have set up this Go Fund Me campaign to save her home. Please give if you can #HelpAbuela.”

Walsh said he would donate $499 – the monthly lease payment for a Tesla – to start the fundraiser, and challenged Daily Wire editor emeritus Ben Shapiro and fellow podcast host Michael Knowles, as well as Daily Wire co-founder and co-CEO Jeremy Boreing, to donate the same amount, which they accepted. Daily Wire host Candace Owens also contributed the same amount.

In her tweets chastising Walsh for suggesting she could help her own grandmother, Ocasio-Cortez claimed that the podcast host didn’t “even have a concept for the role that 1st-gen, first-born daughters play in their families.”

While the congresswoman appears to refer to herself as a “first generation” American, Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York, as was her father, an American citizen of Puerto Rican dissent who was born in the Bronx. The congresswoman’s mother was born in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and have been so since 1917 when they were granted statutory citizenship through the Jones-Shafroth Act signed by Woodrow Wilson. The United States Census Bureau defines “first-generation” immigrants as members of the family who are “foreign born” and are the first in the family to gain citizenship or permanent residency in the U.S.; “second generation” refers to “those with at least one foreign-born parent.”

GoFundMe did not respond to a Daily Wire inquiry prior to press time. Any response from the platform will be added if and when it is received.

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