House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has issued a surprisingly scathing attack on the cadre of progressive freshmen women who have established high profiles among the chamber’s Democrats, dismissing them as having a “public whatever” but lacking significant political backing.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) shot back on Twitter, saying that the “public whatever is called public sentiment.” She added: “Wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country.”
Along with Ocasio-Cortez, frequent Pelosi critics among progressive Democrats elected in 2018 include Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts ― known collectively as the “squad.”
Pelosi dismissed the women’s political clout in an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd published Saturday, as she defended herself against criticism (including in the HuffPost story “What The Hell Is Nancy Pelosi Doing?”) that she too often caves to the Republicans on legislative matters.
She has come under particular attack from House liberals for her push to pass the Senate Republican bill ― instead of the House version ― that increased funding to deal with conditions at the U.S border with Mexico but lacked humanitarian guarantees for detained immigrants, particularly children.
Pelosi insisted that the bill — which the squad of four voted against, along with dozens of other Democrats — was the strongest she could get.
“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi said, referring to the four Democratic women. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
She blamed the shortcomings of the border bill on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whom she described as “authentically terrible.”
“With all due respect, the press likes to make a story that is more about Democrats divided than the fact that Mitch McConnell doesn’t care about the children,’’ she said.
“If the left doesn’t think I’m left enough, so be it,” Pelosi concluded defiantly. “As I say to these people, come to my basement. I have these signs about single-payer (health care) 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.”
Check out Dowd’s article here.