House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi scoffed Wednesday when asked if the victory of self-described Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over House Democratic Caucus chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) in New York’s 14th congressional district demonstrates a change in party leadership is needed.
A partial transcript follows:
REPORTER 1#: “Republicans are saying one of the things this [election] shows is that Democrat Socialism is ascendant in your party. Are they right about that?”
REP PELOSI: “No, they’re no. It’s ascendant in that district, perhaps. I won’t accept any characterization of our party presented by the Republicans. Let me reject that right now. Right, Mr. Clyburn? Our party is a big tent. Our districts are very different one from the other. As I have said, they spent tens of millions of dollars characterizing me as a left-wing person, wherein my district they call me a corporate pawn because my district is progressive. So, it isn’t about that. It’s about representation. Each of our members is elected to be an independent representative of their district. Their job description and their job title are one and the same. No nobody’s district is representative of somebody else’s district. It’s just a sign of the vitality of our party. We’re not a rubber stamp. As I said, calling each other by first names here — Chad — the beauty is in the mix.”
REPORTER #2: “The Democratic Party is increasingly younger, more female, more diverse, more progressive. Should the Democratic House leadership look that way?”
REP. PELOSI: “Well I’m female, I’m progressive. What’s your problem?”
REPORTER #2: “Democratic voters of New York seem to express the problem—”
REP. PELOSI: “They made a choice in one district. Let’s not get yourself carried away as an expert on demographics and the rest of that within the caucus or outside the caucus. We’re again, we have an array of genders, generations, geography, and the rest, opinions in our caucus. We’re very proud of that. The fact in a very progressive district in New York — it went more progressive it — Joe Crowley is a progressive, but more to the left than Joe Crowley— is about that district. It is not viewed as something that stands for that. We are excited about another generation of people coming into the Congress. I am particularly excited to see women running across the country because when I came to Congress usually people had raised their families or done something else before they came — the men were on average 10 years younger when they came. Now we have women stepping up earlier, weighing home and work in a way that is going to benefit all of the American people. Thank-you all very much.”