In the ongoing spat between the House of Representatives’ progressive freshman squad and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Trump has Speaker Pelosi’s back.

Recently, Speaker Pelosi chastised outspoken freshman women elected to Congress in 2018, like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), dismissing their influence on social media as their “public whatever” before pointing out that she whipped every other Democrat vote for a border funding package. The legislation — which was the version that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) wanted passed — didn’t include provisions that Ocasio-Cortez and others pushed for that would have added more protections for immigrant children in U.S. custody.

Ocasio-Cortez called Pelosi’s rolling over for McConnell’s legislation “an abdication we should refuse to accept.”

In a New York Times interview, Pelosi referred to the bill McConnell sent to the House as “our bill,” and singled out the four progressive freshmen women.

“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi told the Times. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez took offense at Nancy Pelosi’s comments about her colleagues. In an interview with The Washington Post, the Bronx Congresswoman accused the House Speaker of being “outright disrespectful” in going beyond her duties of whipping votes and specifically “singling out” freshmen women of color.

“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. “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.”

In the midst of this dispute, President Trump took Pelosi’s side prior to boarding Marine One on Friday.

“I’ll tell you something about Nancy Pelosi that you know better than I do, she is not a racist. OK? She is not a racist,” Trump said. “For them to call her a racist is a disgrace.”

However, that was a misconstruing of Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks. When CNN asked the Congresswoman if she thought Speaker Pelosi was a racist, Ocasio-Cortez said “No, no, absolutely not.” However, the Bronx freshman clarified that Pelosi singling out four members of Congress was reckless, given the amount of death threats that the four women regularly receive.

“We’re not talking about just progressives, it’s signaling out four individuals,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN. “And knowing the media environment that we’re operating in, knowing the amount of death threats that we get, knowing the amount of concentration detention, I think it’s just worth asking why.”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez did not immediately return Grit Post’s request for comment.


Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.

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