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Pelosi Dismisses Ocasio-Cortez Wing of Democrats as ‘Like Five People’

• April 15, 2019 10:00 am

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) dismissed the wing of the congressional Democrats represented by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) as a mere "five people" during a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night.

Pelosi has been profiled several times by national media outlets after her return to the Speakership after an eight-year absence. While she has received praise from the party for her legislative duels with President Donald Trump, she has had more difficulty corralling the left flank of her new House majority.

"By and large, whatever orientation they came to Congress with, they know that we have to hold the center," Pelosi said. "That we have to go down the mainstream."

Interviewer Lesley Stahl said the party looks "fractured" at times, a fair assessment given the tumult caused by Ocasio-Cortez's push for a Green New Deal—dismissed by Pelosi as a "Green Dream"—and repeated anti-Semitic and other controversial remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn). Ocasio-Cortez has also taken aim at more centrist members of the party who voted with Republicans on a gun control amendment that would notify Immigrations and Customs Enforcement when an illegal immigrant tries to purchase a gun.

"You have these wings—AOC and her group on one side," Stahl said.

"That's like five people," Pelosi said, interrupting.

"No, it's the progressive group," Stahl said. "It's more than five."

"Well, I'm progressive—I'm a progressive, yeah," Pelosi said.

Ocasio-Cortez belongs to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which at 98 members is the second-largest group of Democrats in Congress, according to the New York Post. She is just one of seven Democrats to be backed by the far-left Justice Democrats, however.

Pelosi has pushed for strengthening Obamacare, the health care law she was instrumental in getting passed under President Barack Obama, while Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), and other far-left figures are pushing for Medicare for All and the end of the private insurance industry.