The war of words between Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez keeps getting intense by the day. The only thing left at this point is for blows to be exchanged in the physical. Hopefully it won’t get to that.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came out swinging on Thursday in a stinging response to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s claims that the speaker has been disrespectful to several minority lawmakers. Pelosi said she has the backing of her caucus also defending her handling of the rabble-rousing freshman ‘squad’ that Ocasio-Cortez leads.
The House Speaker also confirmed that her warning to Dems’ lawmakers a day earlier about using social media for attacks on fellow Democrats was prompted by Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff.
When asked about her ongoing feud with the New York lawmaker, Pelosi acknowledged how she recently addressed — “at the request of my members” — an “offensive tweet that came out of one of the member’s offices” that compared centrist Democrats to segregationists. That tweet was authored and then deleted by Ocasio-Cortez’ chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti.
“Our members took offense at that,” Pelosi said, claiming her comments received a positive response. “I addressed that.”
Ocasio-Cortez has since accused Pelosi of being “disrespectful” to several “newly elected women of color.” Pelosi refused to say anything else on the subject, but said she supports diversity in the caucus. “I’ve said what I’m going to say…What I said in the caucus yesterday had an overwhelming response from my members. Because they know what the facts are and what we are responding to. We respect the value of every member of our caucus. The diversity of it all is a wonderful thing. Diversity is our strength. Unity is our power,” she said.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez reiterated her Pelosi comments in an interview with CNN, saying she was “pointing out a pattern.” Even though she stopped short of calling Pelosi a racist.
Pelosi has had to deal with tensions like this in the past, even revolt, inside the caucus — having brushed back a challenge to her leadership post from Rep. Tim Ryan following the 2016 election.
The House Speaker has worked so hard to keep the Democratic caucus in line, specifically four newly elected outspoken progressives: Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.
However, the feud between Pelosi and the quartet escalated after Congress recently passed a border funding bill that the four young Democrats voted against. In an interview last weekend, Pelosi told the New York Times: “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world, but they didn’t have any following. They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”
Ocasio-Cortez made the spat nastier when she told The Washington Post on Wednesday that the “persistent singling out” by the speaker may be more than “outright disrespectful.”
“When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
She added: “But the persistent singling out . . . it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful . . . the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”
OOcasio-Cortez had accused Congress In an earlier interview with The New Yorker Radio Hour, of using women and minorities as “bargaining chips.”
“When it comes to women of color in Congress, particularly the freshman, it’s that we both have encountered and represent communities that have been auctioned off and negotiated off for the last 20 years. And we’re over it,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“We see in these negotiations all the time— it’s like fighting for black communities or policies that help women. They’re bargaining chips. And they’re the first chips that are reached for in any legislative negotiations.”
Pelosi has delivered a stern warning to the caucus, telling all House Democrats: “You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just okay.”
How long do you think this war between the two will continue?