House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., again dismissed freshman like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., downplaying the amount of power they had amid a flurry of attention the media gave them.
“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi said of Reps.Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.
Her comments came during a New York Times interview, published on Saturday after those four voted against a Republican measure funding humanitarian assistance at the border — something Pelosi eventually backed amid reports of poor conditions at migrant holding facilities.
Pelosi followed her Twitter comments, saying “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
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Members in that group have been pushing the party to the left on a number of major issues, including immigration. As Congress was weighing whether to pass that multi-billion dollar spending package, each of the four signed onto a statement accusing immigration enforcement of “killing” children.
“These radicalized, criminal agencies are destroying families and killing innocent children,” the statement read. The freshman lawmakers argued that it was “unconsionable” to provide additional funding for both Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as Customs and Border Protection.
After the bill passed both chambers, Ocasio-Cortez lamented the fact that politicians rejected amendments she said would provide accountability for how immigration enforcement spent federal funds.
Her comments appeared to highlight a growing divide between more moderate members and progressive newcomers in the party. Pelosi, according to the Times, seemed unphased by internal criticism, “breezily” telling the Times: “If the left doesn’t think I’m left enough, so be it.”
“As I say to these people, come to my basement. I have these signs about single-payer from 30 years ago. I understand what they’re saying. But we have a responsibility to get something done, which is different from advocacy. We have to have a solution, not just a Twitter fight,” she reportedly said.
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This wasn’t the first time Pelosi has knocked Ocasio-Cortez either. Back in April, she similarly seemed to remark that Ocasio-Cortez’s massive Twitter following didn’t necessarily translate into political power.
“While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what’s important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House,” she said.
She’s also derided Ocasio-Cortez’s group as “like five people” and downplayed the New York congresswoman’s general election victory in 2018. “This glass of water would win with a ‘D’ next to its name in those districts,” she said, noting that Ocasio-Cortez was a “wonderful member of Congress.”
Ocasio-Cortez and others have also strongly urged the House to take up impeachment proceedings, although that seemed unlikely given Pelosi’s repeated, public resistance to the idea.
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Press reports indicated she was conflicted over Trump, apparently acknowledging impeachment’s pitfalls while reportedly saying that she wanted to see him in prison. When the Times asked her about the prison comment, she didn’t completely deny it.
“I didn’t exactly say that,” she told Times writer Maureen Dowd. “You can’t impeach everybody. People wanted Reagan impeached but that didn’t happen. O.K., they impeached Clinton for something so ridiculous — getting impeached for doing a dumb thing as a guy. Then they wanted to impeach Obama.” According to Dowd, Pelosi thought Trump had “given real cause for impeachment.”