House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brushed aside questions Thursday about her feud with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, saying the freshman lawmaker’s “offense” was misplaced — and warning fellow Democrats to control their attacks on each other.
Mrs. Pelosi’s comments came a day after she blasted Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff for suggesting more conservative Democrats were racist for supporting a border funding bill. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, in an interview with The Washington Post Wednesday evening, suggested she was being singled out because she was a minority.
Mrs. Pelosi told reporters she wouldn’t respond — then did so.
“They took offense because I addressed, at the request of my members, an offensive tweet that came out of one of our member’s offices that referenced our Blue Dogs and our new Dems essentially as segregationists,” the speaker said.
Blue Dogs are the most conservative House Democrats, and the New Democrats also tilt toward the moderate side of the party.
“How they’re interpreting it and carrying it to another place is up to them,” Mrs. Pelosi added.
The feuding took on a very public character last month as Mrs. Pelosi tried to figure out how to handle the border crisis, and President Trump’s demand for emergency funding to provide better care for the migrants being caught and held.
Mrs. Pelosi was trapped between the Senate, which passed a bipartisan bill giving Mr. Trump most of what he wanted, and her own left wing, with lawmakers including Ms. Ocasio-Cortez objecting to the Senate bill. House Democrats wrote their own legislation, but even that was too much for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and three other prominent freshman Democratic women, all of them minorities.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, took to Twitter to hint that racism was behind the more moderate lawmakers’ desire to pass the Senate bill.
“You can be someone who does not personally harbor ill will towards a race, but through your actions still enable a racist system,” he tweeted. “And a lot of New Democrats and Blue Dogs did that today.”
He also attacked Mrs. Pelosi’s leadership.
“Pelosi claims we can’t focus on impeachment because it’s a distraction from kitchen table issues. But I’d challenge you to find voters that can name a single thing House Democrats have done for their kitchen table this year. What is this legislative mastermind doing?”
“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,” she told The Post.
Republicans watched the battle from the outside, but said the tension between Mrs. Pelosi and her left wing is threatening the House’s ability to get bills done.
“They’re having a problem managing this new socialist Democratic party,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
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