[guest post by Dana]
Earlier this week, I posted about the claws coming out in the not-so-private rift between Nancy Pelosi and the progressive wing of the Party – specifically ‘the Squad’. Today, Pelosi took off the gloves in an effort get her caucus back in line:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admonished Democrats for personally attacking one another, warning in a closed-door meeting Wednesday that the party’s fracturing was jeopardizing its majority.
Without naming names, her target was clear: the four liberal freshman known as “the Squad.”
“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 okay,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Democrats.
But “the Squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) — is convinced it is Pelosi who is being the bully.
The four are struggling with the speaker’s moves to isolate them in recent weeks, according to interviews with the lawmakers, congressional aides and allies. Pelosi has made at least half-dozen remarks dismissing the group or their far-left proposals on the environment and health care. More recently she scorned their lonely opposition to the party’s emergency border bill last month.
And she defended those comments Wednesday, saying, “I have no regrets about anything. Regrets is not what I do,” doubling down on her claim that the group has little power in the House.
According to the report, the newbies aren’t sure about how to navigate the tough finesse that is the leadership of Nancy Pelosi. But one member of the Squad pushed back publicly, using the traditional go-to move of Democrats:
“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.”
The four women are trying to figure out how to respond, texting one another and weighing whether to confront Pelosi to ask her to stop. But for now, they are focused on their congressional duties, even as they defend their votes in the House that have drawn Pelosi’s ire.
“Thank God my mother gave me broad shoulders and a strong back. I can handle it. I’m not worried about me,” said Pressley, who called Pelosi’s comments “demoralizing.”
It’s incredible to think that, in the lead-up to the next Democratic debate and a major election in the offing, the Democrats are in such disarray that one of their members has suggested that Pelosi behaved like, well, like a….racist. This is likely unfamiliar terrain for Pelosi to navigate too, given that she has been accused by a newly elected progressive with 4.7 million Twitter followers, and whose every word makes the news. The public spectacle of the old power trying to hold the line while the young, new power struggles for its turn couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time for Democrats. One thing is for sure: The new progressive wing of the Party needs to learn that “there’s a big difference between being an advocate and being a legislator.”