House Democrats called out the chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Friday for previously claiming an openly LGBT Native American congresswoman was enabling racism by not supporting a radical immigration bill.
Saikat Chakrabarti, a former Silicon Valley executive who is now Ocasio-Cortez’s top aide, took to social media last month to air his frustration with moderate Democrats for forcing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to abandon a $4.6 billion emergency border appropriation favored by progressives.
In a series of tweets, Chakrabarti likened the moderates to old Southern Democrats, many of whom were avowed segregationists.
Chakrabarti stood by the comparison even when a progressive activist noted Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS), the first openly LGBT Native American woman elected to Congress, was on side of the moderates that wavered on the appropriation.
“I think the point still stands. I don’t think people have to be personally racist to enable a racist system. And the same could even be said of the Southern Democrats,” Chakrabarti said. “I don’t believe Sharice is a racist person, but her votes are showing her to enable a racist system.”
Even though Breitbart News and many other outlets reporting on the controversial comments at the time, neither Ocasio-Cortez or the House Democrats Caucus acknowledged Chakrabarti may have crossed a line. The situation, however, changed on Friday after Ocasio-Cortez accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-NY) of explicitly “singling out of newly elected women of color.”
After that accusation went public, Pelosi’s allies within the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) moved simultaneously to defend the speaker and attack Ocasio-Cortez. A number of the CBC’s members, like Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), directed their anger at both the freshman congresswoman and her chief of staff.
The brawl intensified on Friday with the House Democrat Caucus actively calling Chakrabarti out on social media for previously targeting moderates like David.
“Who is this guy and why is he explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color,” the Caucus tweeted along with a screenshot of Chakrabarti’s comments accusing Davids of enabling racism. “Her name is Congresswoman Davids, not Sharice. She is a phenomenal new member who flipped a red seat blue. Keep her name out of your mouth.”
Who is this guy and why is he explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color?
Her name is Congresswoman Davids, not Sharice.
She is a phenomenal new member who flipped a red seat blue.
— House Democrats (@HouseDemocrats) July 13, 2019
Chakrabarti is the former executive director of Justice Democrats, a progressive advocacy group working to push the Democrat Party left by primarying moderates. In March, he came under fire after a complaint was filed with the Federal Election Commission claiming he funneled more than $1 million in political donations to two of his private companies.
Despite no longer being affiliated with Justice Democrats, the group jumped to Chakrabarti’s defense on Friday, mocking Pelosi for having only days prior told progressives within the House majority to “not tweet.”
— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) July 13, 2019