House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has made enemies of a few more Democratic newcomers.
In an interview with The New York Times published Saturday, Pelosi pushed back against Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Ohmar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for their opposition to a largely bipartisan border spending bill, referring to them just “four people.” Now, Ocasio-Cortez has suggested there’s a racial motivation to Pelosi’s words.
Pelosi has often rejected the will of progressive newcomers, and in an interview with The Washington Post published Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez said she “understood” that was “to protect more moderate members.” But this “persistent singling out” has become “just outright disrespectful . . . the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
Ocasio-Cortez’s comment comes after she and her self-described “squad” pushed for amendments to a Republican-led bill that directed emergency funding to the border, received some compromises, and still voted against it. The bill still passed because despite having “their public whatever and their Twitter world,” the freshmen representatives are just “four people and that’s how many votes they got,” Pelosi told The New York Times. Pelosi also reportedly told a closed-door meeting Wednesday that Democrats can’t just “tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just okay,” per the Post.
Yet as Politico Playbook describes it, Pelosi’s words weren’t meant as an insult. To Pelosi, “if you are one person who controls 20 votes, you’re powerful,” and everyone else is just a “normal member,” Politico writes. Those supposedly offensive comments, as Politico puts it, are simply “a reflection of a reality under which [Pelosi] operates.” Kathryn Krawczyk