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Pelosi, AOC Clash over Reach of Progressives’ Influence

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 27, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) clashed over the weekend with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) after making dismissive remarks about the influence of Ocasio-Cortez and other young progressives in the caucus.

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

Pelosi, 79, was referring to Ocasio-Cortez, 29, and Representatives Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The four freshman members, nicknamed “the Squad,” voted against the $4.6 billion emergency-disaster-aid bill signed into law last month, or “our bill,” as Pelosi called it. The bill included funding for more resources to address the increasing flow of migrants over the southern border, and the four congresswomen said it did not contain strong enough protections for migrant children.

Ocasio-Cortez did not appear to appreciate the speaker’s comments and responded with a few choice words on her Twitter account, which has 4.7 million followers.

“That public ‘whatever’ is called public sentiment,” she wrote. “And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country.”

“I find it strange when members act as though social media isn’t important,” she added. “I don’t believe it was a good idea for Dems to blindly trust the Trump admin when so many kids have died in their custody. It’s a huge mistake.”

“Patetico!” Omar wrote on her own Twitter account. “You know they’re just salty about WHO is wielding the power to shift ‘public sentiment’ these days, sis. Sorry not sorry.”

“It is very disappointing that the speaker would ever try to diminish our voices in so many ways,” Tlaib added on ABC.

“You know, people like us, people like me and Ayanna, Ilhan, and Alexandria, we’re reflective of our nation in many ways,” Tlaib continued. “Guess what? We know what it feels like to be dehumanized. We know what it feels like to be brown and black in this country. And I’ll tell you right now, we’re not going to stand by and sit idly by and allow brown and dark-skinned children to be ripped away from their parents to be dehumanized.”

Pelosi has previously downplayed the influence of the same group of congresswomen, calling that part of the Democratic caucus “like five people.”

“By and large, whatever orientation they came to Congress with, they know that we have to hold the center. That we have to go down the mainstream,” Pelosi said in April.

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