Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been engaged in a war of words. On Wednesday, AOC added to that war by calling Pelosi “outright disrespectful” for criticizing women of color.
AOC’s statement is a reaction to Pelosi’s repeated attempts to “reign in” the more left-wing members of her caucus. Pelosi also recently chastised the freshman reps, AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley for “tweeting too much.”
“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,” AOC recently stated.
“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,” AOC added.
Earlier in the week, Pelosi mocked AOC and freshman colleagues Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley for their Twitter-based influence.
On Wednesday, Pelosi made an impassioned plea to her caucus for party unity, but then statements she made during a recent interview were published adding more tension to the situation.
“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi said in an interview with the New York Times that was published on Sunday. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
Ocasio-Cortez replied to Pelosi’s statements on Twitter, “That public ‘whatever’ is called public sentiment.”
This week, Pelosi stood by her statements telling reporters she did not regret any of her remarks.
On Wednesday, during a caucus meeting, Pelosi told members: “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 OK.”
“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,” AOC said.
She added that “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.”
Ayanna Pressley also spoke out calling Pelosi’s comments “demoralizing.”
“Thank God my mother gave me broad shoulders and a strong back. I can handle it. I’m not worried about me,” Pressley said. “I am worried about the signal that it sends to people I speak to and for, who sent me here with a mandate, and how it affects them.”