House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday responded to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) calling her out for “the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”
When reporters asked Pelosi about Ocasio-Cortez’s comment during a press conference, the House speaker gave a terse answer.
“What I said in the caucus yesterday got an overwhelming response from my members, because they know what the facts are and what we’re responding to,” Pelosi said. “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. And we have a big fight. We’re in the arena.”
“And that’s all I’m going to say on the subject,” she concluded. “So if you want to waste your question, you can waste your question.”
Pelosi held a closed-door meeting with her Democratic caucus on Wednesday, during which she scolded Democrats for publicly airing their complaints about fellow Democrats. Though Pelosi didn’t mention explicitly who she was talking about, the meeting was understood to be a rebuke against four outspoken progressive Democrats: Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
It wasn’t the first time Pelosi had chided the freshmen (aka “The Squad”). In an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, the Democratic leader criticized them for voting against the emergency border funding bill last month.
“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” she told Dowd. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
By Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez seemed to have had enough.
“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 told the Washington Post. “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.”
Watch Pelosi below:
Pelosi responds to AOC's criticism: "Diversity is our strength, unity is our power" pic.twitter.com/wbn4QziQsa
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) July 11, 2019