Ocasio-Cortez Hits Former Chief of Staff for 'Divisive' Tweet About Moderate Democrats

She's opposed to 'specifically targeting members'

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib / Getty Images
August 8, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) said during a recent interview that her former chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti's tweet attacking the moderate Blue Dogs Caucus was "divisive," adding she didn't approve of it.

The New York Daily News published an interview on Thursday with Ocasio-Cortez, where she addressed a few issues involving Chakrabarti, who served as her chief of staff until last Friday. During the interview, she clarified his resignation was not in response to the controversial June 27 tweet and that he had been planning to leave before the tweet. Ocasio-Cortez, however, did distance herself from the tweet.

"I think it was divisive," Ocasio-Cortez said. "I believe in criticizing stances, but I don't believe in specifically targeting members."

She went on to say her office had an "internal conversation" about the tweet and then Chakrabarti "immediately took the tweet down."

Chakrabarti faced backlash after he targeted the Blue Dogs Caucus, which is comprised of moderate Democrats in the House of Representatives.  The tweet was in response to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) giving in to moderate House Democrats on the Senate's border supplemental bill. This bill allowed a clean vote on the bill, which means there would be no potential amendments to sneak in progressive priorities.

"Instead of 'fiscally conservative but socially liberal' let's call the New Democrats and Blue Dog Caucus the 'New Southern Democrats,'" Chakrabarti said in a now-deleted tweet. "They certainly seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old southern Democrats did in the 40s."

Chakrabarti followed up on his tweet by saying he didn't realize there needed to be a clarification about his tweet targeting the moderate Democrats.

"You can be someone who does not personally harbor ill will towards a race, but through your actions still enable a racist system. And a lot of New Democrats and Blue Dogs did that today," Chakrabarti said.

While Ocasio-Cortez didn't approve of her former chief of staff's tweet, she was not happy about Pelosi and other Democrats supporting the Senate's border supplemental bill.

"This Senate Bill will have us write a $4.6 Billion blank check (incl military $) for the border w NO accountability—just a verbal pinky promise," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "Trump is not to be trusted with protecting our immigrants. Why must that even be stated? We need hard lines of protection, in ink."