New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “singling out newly elected women of color” in the Democratic Party. Ocasio-Cortez’s comment is the latest shot fired in a war of words between Pelosi and a group of more left-leaning members of the House, known as “the Squad.”
“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 told The Washington Post about Pelosi. “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.”
At Pelosi’s weekly press conference on Thursday, the House speaker said she wasn’t interested in talking about the feud.
“I said what I’m going to say in the caucus. That’s where this is appropriate,” Pelosi said, adding, “I’m not going to be discussing it any further.”
Pelosi and “the Squad” — which, in addition to Ocasio-Cortez, also includes Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley — have clashed on a variety of issues, including how to handle funding for the humanitarian crisis at the border and whether to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump. But the disputes have spilled into the public in the past few weeks as Pelosi and the freshmen legislators have slammed each other in the press and on social media.
Pelosi said in a New York Times interview last week that the four freshmen “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 responded on Twitter, “That public ‘whatever’ is called public sentiment. And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country.”
Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow “Squad” members have often aired their grievances on Twitter about Pelosi and other more moderate Democrats. According to multiple reports, Pelosi chastised the younger members at a closed-door caucus meeting Wednesday, saying, “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.”
But Ocasio-Cortez has downplayed the tensions, accusing the press of playing them up. Responding on Twitter to a story that said she and Pelosi were in a “catfight,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “‘Catfight’ is the sexist term Republicans use when two adult women happen to disagree with each other. The reason they find it so novel &exciting is bc the GOP haven’t elected enough women themselves to see that it can, in fact, be a normal occurrence in a functioning democracy.”