Congressional Dems ‘Exasperated’ With Ocasio-Cortez: ‘Don’t Attack Your Own People’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Getty Images
• January 11, 2019 1:59 pm


Some congressional Democrats are already frustrated with upstart freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's tendency to butt heads with members of her own party, according to a number of lawmakers and aides.

Members of Congress tell Politico on and off the record that Ocasio-Cortez will have an ineffective legislative career if she continues to criticize party leadership. "I’m sure Ms. Cortez means well, but there’s almost an outstanding rule: Don’t attack your own people," veteran Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said. "We just don’t need sniping in our Democratic Caucus."

"She needs to decide: Does she want to be an effective legislator or just continue being a Twitter star?" an anonymous House Democrat said. "There’s a difference between being an activist and a lawmaker in Congress."

"She’s new here, feeling her way around," Rep. Kurt Schrader (D., Ore.) said. "She doesn’t understand how the place works yet."

Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff hit back at the Democrats quoted in the Politico piece, comparing them to King George III during the American Revolution, and approvingly quote-tweeting a tweet comparing them to people who opposed civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s.

The Politico report follows criticism from high profile former members of Congress like Democrat Claire McCaskill, a former senator from Missouri. "I'm a little confused why she's the thing. But it's a good example of what I'm talking about, a bright shiny new object, came out of nowhere and surprised people when she beat a very experienced congressman," she told CNN in December.

"The rhetoric is cheap," McCaskill said. "Getting results is a lot harder."

Joe Lieberman, a former Democratic Connecticut senator and vice presidential candidate, leveled his own criticism Thursday, telling Fox Business, "With all respect, I certainly hope she’s not the future and I don’t believe she is."

"If you look at the majority of new Democrats in the House, they tend to be, I say, center-left, if they are not left-left. And that is because they had to be center-left to win some of those competitive swing districts that they took from Republicans," Lieberman said. "So that’s the hope."