Democratic congressman Brad Sherman (Calif.) blamed the press and President Donald Trump for giving liberal firebrands like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) undue attention.
Sherman, who has been at the forefront of the movement to impeach Trump in Congress, made the remarks during a CNN appearance on Tuesday. During the segment, Sherman was asked by anchor Dana Bash if it was "fair" for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) to dismiss the influence liberals like Ocasio-Cortez were having on the Democratic majority.
Rather than address Pelosi's comments directly, Sherman castigated the president for attempting to define the leadership of the Democratic Party.
"There are three new members of congress who are getting a lot of publicity in part that's because Donald Trump has chosen to attack them," the congressman said. "We can't have Trump choosing who our leaders are. Our leader is Nancy Pelosi, our leaders are the chairs of the various committees."
"We have 62 freshman members of Congress and there are only three being talked about," Sherman continued. "That's not a decision Trump should make and the press should pay attention to all 62 of our new members and all of our members."
"But they do have leading voices," Bash interjected. "They have incredible followings on social media, well beyond their particular districts. Isn't that fair?"
"They are attacked by Donald Trump and so they get a lot of coverage," Sherman responded. "It's chicken and egg situation. Trump should not choose who speaks for the Democratic Party."
"Do they speak for the democratic party?" Bash asked.
"They speak as much as I do. They are represent their district, I represent my district," Sherman said. "I've been doing it for 22 years and have been entrusted with the sub-committee chairmanship by our caucus. They are relatively new members."
Sherman mentioned Ocasio-Cortez's primary upset over former House Democratic Conference Chairman Joe Crowley showed "real capacity," but added that "many of us have…beaten tough Republicans" and "tough Democrats" in the past.