Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s boyfriend Riley Roberts has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since the congresswoman started making waves in 2018, but he’s clearly supported her. Here’s more you need to know about the representative’s boyfriend!
New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had been dating her boyfriend Riley Roberts long before she kicked off her campaign for Congress in April 2017. Even though AOC tends to discuss her political views more than her boyfriend, Riley has clearly been a strong supporter for the congresswoman throughout all of her political ambitions. He’s stood by AOC through the political whirlwind that her term in the House of Representatives has been and clearly means a lot to her. Want to know more about AOC’s boyfriend Riley? Here’s more about Riley Roberts below.
Who Is Riley Roberts?
An Arizona native and graduate from Boston University, Riley is “an easygoing redhead who works in web development,” according to a Vogue profile of the AOC in November 2018. His LinkedIn allegedly listed his job as the head of marketing for HomeBinder.com, according to Marie Claire. It does appear that he’s deleted his LinkedIn or changed his account information. Ironically, Riley does share a name with a veteran speechwriter, Riley L. Roberts, who worked in Washington for years, most notably as the chief speechwriter for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, during the Obama Administration.
Riley’s career did draw public attention in 2019 when writer Luke Thompson shared a photo indicating that Riley had an email address through the House Representatives. Luke accused AOC of nepotism in a tweet, saying that she “put her boyfriend on staff,” and was paying him a salary. AOC clapped back and said that he had the email address to get access to her Google Calendar and was not on her payroll. “Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense,” she wrote.
Actually this cal designation is a permission so he can have access to my Google Cal. Congressional spouses get Gcal access all the time.
Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 15, 2019
How Riley Roberts And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Met
Riley Roberts met AOC when they were both students at Boston University. Riley was pursuing a dual degree in finance and sociology, while AOC studied economics and international relations. The future congresswoman met the redhead at a student town hall series called Coffee and Conversations, according to Insider. Unsurprisingly, AOC was incredibly outspoken during the sessions that covered a number of different topics, but Riley seemed like an ideal match as someone who was more quiet, but offered countering arguments. He would sit “in the corner of the room really thinking through things,” a mutual college friend had said. They started dating, but apparently, they were private about their relationship even then, where some friends didn’t even realize they were an item.
During those town halls, Riley apparently argued the points that AOC made, because it “always bothered” him that people tended to fall into the same thinking, one of AOC’s close friends told Vanity Fair in December 2020. Another friend reiterated just how not “glamorous” the pair’s courtship was. “These were two awkward, supersmart, like-to-talk-about-issues kind of people that met through this super-wonky, nerdy thing,” he said. Even though it might not be the type of love story that people are used to, the stimulating conversations were certainly enough for AOC and Riley to first fall in love in college.
Unfortunately, they broke up after graduation when Riley moved back to Arizona, but he eventually moved to New York and re-sparked their flame. He dated her as she bartended and helped organize for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders‘ 2016 presidential run, and they’ve been together ever since.
Top Moments Between Riley Roberts And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Having been together for so long, Ocasio-Cortez and Roberts definitely have shared plenty of memorable moments together. Besides being her beau, Riley has been an important partner for the congresswoman showing his endless support for his girlfriend. One of AOC’s few Instagram posts with him in it was when she first submitted her bid for Congress in the 2018 election. He can be seen in a group photo that was taken at the New York City Board of Elections.
Of course, he was there when she first started to serve in Congress. When she was sworn in in January 2019, he said that moving to Washington was “great” and expressed some pride for his girlfriend’s start in the Capitol. “A really incredible day, really special,” he told The New York Post.
Most people’s first look at Riley was in the Netflix documentary Knock Down the House, which chronicled AOC’s 2018 election campaign. Riley is featured a few times in the trailer, hugging his girlfriend and holding her hand. In one moment, he reassures AOC, when she said, “I can do this.” He sweetly responded, “I know you can.”
The documentary did spark a hilarious trend, after a political journalist said that Riley looked like a “bin raccoon” in a since-deleted tweet. The phrase became a bit of a meme, where people were dunking on the journalist (who later clarified she meant he looked “scruffy” rather than “ugly”), according to Yahoo. Fortunately, it looked like the couple had a good sense of humor about it. In a May 2019 Instagram Story, AOC posted a photo of Riley sporting a new haircut. “The internet roasted Riley into getting a haircut/glowup after #KnockDownTheHouse,” she wrote.
While Riley tends to keep himself out of the public eye, he has made a few appearances in AOC’s social media to participate in important discussions about political topics. He participated in one of the congresswoman’s Instagram Stories in February 2020, to provide tips about how white people can help to combat racism. Besides the occasional social media appearances, Riley has been seen out and about with the representative, as the pair have gone on dates in New York City, like when the pair were seen on a romantic outing in New York’s Meat-packing District in September 2020, via DailyMail.
Even though the couple haven’t made it clear whether wedding bells or children might be in their future, their parents are definitely happy that the web developer and politician are together. AOC’s mom Blanca Ocasio-Cortez said she “loves” Riley in a March 2019 interview with DailyMail. She clearly hopes the pair get hitched soon. “I know they love children, and they do very well with children from the family,” she said at the time. “So, I hope they get married soon. Although they haven’t told me anything about their plans.”
It seems like Riley’s family loves AOC also. It was revealed the the New York representative was wearing a necklace given to her by Riley’s mom Connie Roberts, when she was campaigning for Cynthia Nixon in her gubernatorial run. Connie said that she felt like the necklace was “so Alexandria” in an interview with AZ Central. “We wanted her to know she was special,” Connie said.
Thank you everyone for your puppy content today! 🐶
Here’s Deco from his first time camping and turning into a dinosaur 🏕 pic.twitter.com/IjhXTb3nMW
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 5, 2021
Yes! 🐶 the goal is to train him to be a community pup. Ideally we want to work to the point where he can enjoy town halls, be an Amtrak pup, come to the office, etc.
But first, naps 😴 pic.twitter.com/ec8beJTrmZ
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 7, 2020
While plans for weddings or children may not be totally clear, the couple have taken the major relationship step to adopt a puppy together. The pair own a french bulldog named Deco together. AOC has shared plenty of posts showing off the adorable pup on her social media, including when he’s been dressed like a dinosaur on a camping trip or simply a cute picture of Deco napping in her lap. In January 2020, she tweeted that she hoped to train him to be comfortable in all sorts of scenarios. “The goal is to train him to be a community pup. Ideally we want to work to the point where he can enjoy town halls, be an Amtrak pup, come to the office, etc.,” she wrote.