Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has struck back at Republican Senate candidate JD Vance, who had referred to her and other progressive politicians as “a bunch of childless cat ladies”.

Mr Vance suggested on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show that “if we want a healthy ruling class in this country”, Americans should vote for more politicians with children.

On Friday, AOC clapped back.

“When you accidentally let your billionaire funder-talk slip out on TV, you say things like ‘a healthy ruling class,’” the congresswoman tweeted.

Mr Vance, author of the famous memoir Hillbilly Elegy, is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Ohio Republican Rob Portman, who is retiring. In recent speeches, Mr Vance has argued that people without children have less of a stake in the country’s future than those with families – and that many of these childless citizens are Democrats.

“What I was basically saying,” the candidate explained to Carlson on Thursday, “is that we are effectively run in this country – via the Democrats, via our corporate oligarchs – by a bunch of childless cat ladies who are miserable at their own lives and the choices that they’ve made, and so they want to make the rest of the country miserable too.”

Mr Vance, 36, has two children. Ms Ocasio-Cortez, 31, has none. In his comments on Fox News, Mr Vance singled out her and two other childless Democratic figures to make his point.

“You look at Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, AOC – the entire future of the Democrats is controlled by people without children,” he said.

Vice President Harris, it should be noted, has two stepchildren with her husband, Doug Emhoff.

Not all of Mr Vance’s targets are politicians. When New York Times columnist Paul Krugman criticized his argument, the Republican shot back on Twitter that Mr Krugman was “one of many weird cat ladies who have too much power in our country.”

Mr Krugman later responded in a column.

“When politicians rant about values, or attack other people’s personal choices, it’s usually a sign that they’re unable or unwilling to propose policies that would actually improve American lives,” he wrote in the Times.

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