On January 31 2019, a Facebook user shared the following meme (archived here), claiming that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had once said that it was possible to “land on the sun” and “we just have to go at night”:
Not only did the post not include any indication as to whether it was presented as real rather than as a joke, no links as a source for the quote were included. Needless to say, such a quote would have drawn considerable mockery were it authentic, and the only search results for it were links to the same or similar memes.
The earliest iteration of the meme we located was from December 2018, from a Twitter account devoted to mocking Ocasio-Cortez:
Of course we can land on the sun… We’d just have to go at night! pic.twitter.com/6FwW82xTw1
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Memes (@AOCMemes) December 4, 2018
Two months later, a reference to the spurious quote appeared in Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter replies:
True you say???How the heck are we supposed to land on the sun and at night??Makes you wonder how most Dems even graduated high school.
— Lionheart44 (@chris6941) January 8, 2019
A similar meme attributed the quote to President Donald Trump. Many people commenting on the Facebook post decried Ocasio-Cortez’s purported stupidity, whereas others approved of it while acknowledging the quote was fabricated:
We don’t actually think she said this. We know it is a joke. Sadly what the Dems don’t understand is that it is GOD that heals the land. In the Bible. So they can try and save the planet all they want but as long as they keep voting in wicked legislation that goes against God’s principles NOTHING will save them or the land. of course if one does not believe the Bible it is a moot point.
Chill John Boy, it’s totally a joke and we get it. With all her past blobs she is the next target for comedy. Remember, Democrat comics get away with distasteful humor. Republicans are racists, sexist, bla- bla-bla… We need a Will Rogers to tickle our funny bone; in the mean time DEMS are supplying enough material to bust a gut. Don’t take it seriously…the war is settled at the voting poles.
We know she didn’t say that, but give her a chance, and some day she will say it. She would turn this country into Venazula
Ever notice about Democrats; they don’t recognize humor or satire. All they know is hate. Pitiful,small minded people.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the subject of a number of similar memes and claims: that she had “forgotten” to vote for her own Green New Deal proposal, that she claimed her Girl Scout troop “re-enacted” the Challenger explosion, that she said white women need to have more abortions, and similar to the meme above, that she said “all the technology in the world” would not allow a wall to be built over mountains.