The nonstop battling with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other long-time members has House Democrats and their aides losing patience with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as Pelosi’s dismissive comments are said to represent the trending view of a large section of the Democratic Party.
One Democrat told Fox News of AOC on Friday, “She is a complete fraud,” which seems to accurately convey the situation of the members’ frustration. The most recent comments by AOC had lawmakers fuming, as she accused Pelosi of being racist towards the minority congresswomen when she was uniquely disrespectful to them.
A senior black lawmaker came to Pelosi’s defense and criticized Ocasio-Cortez for using the “race card” against the speaker on Thursday, saying the comments from the freshman lawmaker were “so inappropriate.” Other members said the same of AOC, and her group and even accused them of targeting black lawmakers for potential primary challenges in questioning those comments.
“Her peers do not take her seriously,” the senior Democratic source said, “They think it is absurd to call the speaker racist. Offensive and absurd.” They also indicated that AOC is powerless.
“She is a nobody. She is a freshman member of Congress with no power. She is not worth the speaker’s brainpower,” said the source. They further accused her of starting “needless distractions from serious issues,” and missing important meetings and conference calls to do media interviews, social media posts, and other “glamour” opportunities.
“In this building, it is about how many others you can bring along to your side. She maybe has two members—sometimes four,” the source added.
Comments from the senior Democratic lawmaker come as many prominent members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) side with Pelosi.
“It was such a weak argument to say she was being picked on and that four women of color were being picked on by the speaker,” said Rep. William Lacy Clay, (D) Mo., a member of the CBC. “It shows their lack of sensitivity to racism. To fall back on that [trope] is a weak argument. It has no place in a civil discussion. It’s going to take a process of maturing for those freshman members. They will have to learn to be effective legislators.”
The discord between AOC and Pelosi developed after Congress passed a border funding bill that AOC and the group of freshmen Reps. Ilhan Omar, (D) Minn., Rashida Tlaib, (D) Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, (D) Mass., all opposed.
In a recent interview, Pelosi told The New York Times that “all these people 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.”
AOC responded by telling The Washington Post that the “persistent singling out” by the speaker was “outright disrespectful” and affected “newly elected women of color.” When asked by Fox News Friday how she would respond to criticism of playing the ‘race card’ against Pelosi, however, she responded with a denial of her words: “What? That’s stupidly untrue.”
The speaker warned lawmakers against posting negative comments about colleagues on social media and recently addressed — “at the request of my members” — an “offensive tweet that came out of one of the member’s offices” that compared centrist Democrats to segregationists. That post was made by AOC’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti.
“Our members took offense at that,” said Pelosi, so “I addressed that. I’ve said what I’m going to say…What I said in the caucus yesterday had an overwhelming response from my members, because they know what the facts are and what we are responding to. We respect the value of every member of our caucus. The diversity of it all is a wonderful thing. Diversity is our strength. Unity is our power.”