House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Ca.) ripped Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) in a New York Times interview, criticizing the democratic-socialist representative for not having a significant following outside of social media.
Pelosi's criticism targeted Ocasio-Cortez along with other progressives, including: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.).
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"All 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 interview addresses the recent $4.6 billion border aid package passed by the House despite resistance from Ocasio-Cortez and the more progressive members in the Democratic caucus.
Ocasio-Cortez said the bill was "completely irresponsible," and Omar said that supporting the bill meant voting "to keep kids in cages and terrorize immigrant communities."
The House passed the Senate version of the bill after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) denied a vote on the House's version of the bill. Pelosi faced strong criticism from centrist Democrats who did not want to go into the July 4 recess without having legislatively addressed the border crisis. The vote was widely seen as capitulating to Senate Republicans.
Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Pelosi on Twitter, defending her use of social media.
"That public ‘whatever' is called public sentiment. And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country," the representative wrote to her more than 4.5 million Twitter followers.
That public "whatever" is called public sentiment.
And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country. https://t.co/u6JtgwwRsk
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 7, 2019
"I find it strange when members act as though social media isn't important," she added in a subsequent tweet, saying that congress members "campaign like it's 2008."
This isn't the first time Pelosi has downplayed Ocasio-Cortez's influence. Earlier this year, Pelosi said a "glass of water" with a D next to its name would have been elected in Ocasio-Cortez's district.