AOC’s Chief of Staff Likens Moderate Democrats to Jim Crow Supporters

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY., right, and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti, left, walk back together after joining other members of the freshman class of Congress for a group photo on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The chief of staff for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) likened moderate Democrats to “Jim Crow supporters.”

Saikat Chakrabarti, who served as Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign manager in 2018 before joining her congressional staff, made the comments via social media on Thursday.

“Instead of ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal’ let’s call the New Democrats and Blue Dog Caucus the ‘New Southern Democrats,'” Chakrabarti wrote 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.”

The tweet appears to have been posted in response to an announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that she would drop the $4.6 billion emergency border funding package crafted by Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives in the Democrat majority. Pelosi made the decision after the Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected the more radical House version and instead chose to pass its own bill with bipartisan support.

Politico reported Pelosi made the concession after a group of moderate Democrats in the Blue Dog Coalition led by Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) promised to oppose the House appropriation if it was brought to a vote again.

Ocasio-Cortez lambasted Pelosi’s decision saying Congress was giving President Donald Trump “a $4.6 billion blank check” with no accountability on the basis of “a verbal pinky promise.”

Chakrabarti echoed the sentiment, but squared his criticism directly at the Blue Dog Coalition. He specifically castigated the group for what he saw as a philosophical contradiction in their support for “wasting $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to put kids in concentration camps.”

“Can we stop calling the Blue Dog Caucus ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal?'”Chakrabarti wrote. “I missed the part of fiscal conservativeness or social liberalness that includes wasting $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to put kids in concentration camps.”

Shortly thereafter, Chakrabarti defended his original statements likening moderate Democrats to Southern segregationists, saying it was possible to both intentionally and unintentionally “enable a racist system.”

“Didn’t realize this needed to be said, but: you can be someone who does not personally harbor ill will towards a race, but through your actions still enable a racist system,” he said. “And a lot of New Democrats and Blue Dogs did that today.”

Chakrabarti stood defiant when questioned if the comparison was apt considering the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition had African American and Latino members, including some who voted against the House bill.

He added that there were plenty of old southern Democrats that weren’t “all Jim Crow supporters” and only felt as though “they were representing their districts” by upholding segregation.

Chakrabarti also disclosed he deleted his initial tweet because he was mad, but felt compelled to discuss the issue in-depth because if there is not “progress on racial justice it will be because” of moderate Democrats.

In March, Chakrabarti came under fire after a complaint was filed with the Federal Election Commission claiming he funneled more than $1 million in political donations into two of his private companies.

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