Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) butchered the Constitution Friday during an extended town hall discussion with MSNBC host Chris Hayes in which the freshman lawmaker fielded questions about the controversial “Green New Deal.”
Prompted by economics professor Mark Paul to list the lessons from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal that could be recycled for postmodern America, Ocasio-Cortez suggested there is “a lot.”
“One, is that when we look into our history when our party was boldest time of the New Deal, the Great Society, the Civil Rights Act and so on we had and carried supermajorities in the House in the Senate we carried the presidency,” the New York Democrat explained.
Then came her constitutional blunder.
“They had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get re-elected,” she claimed.
However, the Constitution was not amended to prevent FDR from winning re-election. In fact, FDR was elected president four times. He died in April 1945, less than three months into his fourth term.
Prior to the 1940 presidential election in which FDR won his third election, no American had ever been elected president more than two times. But because presidents were not subjected to term limits, FDR’s third and fourth elections were completely within the bounds of the law. After all, George Washington, who willfully served only two presidential terms, merely established a tradition of two presidential terms.
Realizing the concerns with future presidents serving more terms than FDR had, Congress acted swiftly to amend the Constitution limiting presidents to two elections. In March 1947, Congress approved the 22nd Amendment.
It took nearly four years for the amendment to earn approval from three-fourths of the states, finally being ratified in February 1951.