It's here: the November 2018 midterm documentary Knock Down The House finally dropped on May 1, and if you've been as excited about this women-led political Netflix documentary as I've been, you're probably planning to drop everything and watch it ASAP. The documentary features the Democratic primary campaigns of Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. One of the most moving things in the documentary is the network of support that each candidate leans on — and for AOC, that included her usually out-of-sight partner. So, who is Riley Roberts? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's boyfriend seems to be supportive AF, even though their relationship has largely been out of the spotlight.
Roberts is a major presence in the documentary, frequently shown helping Ocasio-Cortez execute her campaign, wearing shirts promoting her candidacy, or helping her prepare for a debate against her opponent, incumbent Joe Crowley. According to a 2018 Vogue profile, the two met when they were undergraduates at Boston University during a conversation hosted by the dean. The article featured a photo of AOC and Roberts in their shared one-bedroom Bronx apartment, calling Roberts an "easygoing redhead who works in web development." As of March 2019, the couple had been together for nearly four years, per The Washington Post.
Until then, AOC and Roberts' relationship had been pretty private — so private, in fact, he was mistaken by the Daily Mail to be a campaign volunteer for AOC, rather than her boyfriend. But even after the Vogue interview, the two still keep their relationship out of the spotlight. AOC doesn't talk much about Roberts during interviews and he's rarely present on her social media. Roberts did, however, attend AOC's swearing-in with her brother and mom, telling The New York Post it had been "a really incredible day, really special."
Roberts has also won the stamp of approval from AOC's mom, Blanca Ocasio-Cortez. She told the Daily Mail back in March that Roberts was "the most loving, supporting person" she's seen.
In case you want to see what Roberts looks like, he's on the far right side of photo with the red hair and beard, smiling ear to ear in support of AOC during her swearing-in ceremony. He's also seen at about the 35-second mark in the Knock Down The House trailer, telling his girlfriend, "I know you can" do this.
AOC's relationship with Roberts did make national headlines back in February 2019 when online rumors circulated that Roberts was using a "mail.house.gov" email address. Twitter user @ltthompso noticed Roberts' email and tweeted, "While you were having a nice Valentine's Day, @AOC decided to put her boyfriend on staff — drawing a salary on the taxpayer's dime. Nice to see her adapting to the swamp so quickly." AOC immediately hit back at the tweeter, explaining why Robers had a White House email, writing: "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."
While Knock Down The House reveals a little more insight into this private couple's lives, its unlikely that AOC fans and political junkies who keep up with the lives of members of congress will hear many more details about their relationship, which is so fair. AOC, like many other women in Congress, is already constantly scrutinized for her leadership, so it makes sense she'd want to keep her private life away from public view.