In an interview with the Washington Post published Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) commented on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi‘s “singling out” of freshman congresswomen of color, calling it “disrespectful.”


“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 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,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

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Speaking to CNN on Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez stood by her words, saying, “It’s really just pointing out the pattern, right? We’re not talking about just progressives, it’s signaling out four individuals. And knowing the media environment that we’re operating in, knowing the amount of death threats that we get, knowing the amount of concentration attention, I think it’s just worth asking why.”

Asked if she believed that Pelosi was racist, Ocasio-Cortez said, “No, no, absolutely not, absolutely not.”

The New York lawmaker’s comments come in response to a New York Times interview given by Pelosi in which the speaker knocked four members of the Democratic party who had voted against the House’s version of a border aid bill.

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

The four Pelosi was referring to were Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts). These freshman congresswomen, who are often referred to as “the squad,” have been vocal advocates for progressive, liberal and anti-establishment ideas, which frequently puts them at odds with party leaders such as Pelosi.

In a Democratic House meeting on Wednesday, the speaker made an impassioned plea to her caucus for unity, hoping to put an end to the party infighting that has recently split the Democrats into liberal and moderate factions. “You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just ok,” said Pelosi during the meeting.

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