House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) biggest stumbling block is not Republicans. At least, not this time around. Rather, it is a group of radical freshman lawmakers within her own caucus. Their bitter battle has been bubbling up over the past few weeks, but it appears to be reaching a boiling point.
Relations took a turn for the worse after Pelosi conceded, accepting a bipartisan emergency funding package and ditching the “Squad’s” version, which was packed with immigration enforcement restrictions. Pelosi felt as though the Squad did its party a disservice by voting against what she described to the New York Times as “our bill,” which she believes stood the best chance of making it in the long haul.
The far-left flank was not satisfied with Pelosi’s concession, but Pelosi sarcastically dismissed their concerns, directly hitting the Squad in a July 6 interview with the New York Times.
“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi said. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
However, Politico’s playbook suggests the dismissive remark is not as personal as one might think, saying:
TO PELOSI, if you are one person, you have one vote. That’s the lens through which she views power. If you are one person who controls 20 votes, you’re powerful. If you’re one person who controls one vote, you’re just a normal member. So when she told the NYT’s Maureen Dowd that those four people are, indeed, four people, that was meant not as an insult, but rather as a reflection of a reality under which she operates.
Despite disregarding their “Twitter world,” Wednesday’s closed-door caucus meeting revealed that the House Speaker is more concerned about their influence than she publicly lets on. The veteran lawmaker reportedly blasted caucus members for airing their grievances and exposing their infighting on social media.
“So, again, you got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it,” Pelosi reportedly told her Democrat colleagues. “But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just ok.”
While a spokesman for the speaker denied that Pelosi’s remark was geared toward a single individual, all signs point to Ocasio-Cortez and her Squad, which has been airing the left’s dirty laundry out on Twitter for all to see.
But just who are these Squad members?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY):
Ocasio-Cortez could be considered the leader of the far-left squad. The self-described Democrat socialist is the most vocal among her leftist peers and has been at the center of the battle against the House Speaker.
Ocasio-Cortez briefly spoke about her complicated relationship with Pelosi during a Tuesday interview with New York Radio Hour. During the interview, Ocasio-Cortez revealed that she had not spoken to Pelosi one-on-one since being asked to join the Select Committee on Climate Change, which ultimately declined due to the committee’s failure to bend to her “very specific requests.”
She added that she does not have a “distinguished” relationship with Pelosi and openly wondered if House leadership assigned her to the “busiest” committees in order to keep her out of their hair.
“I was assigned to two of some of the busiest committees and four subcommittees. So my hands are full. And sometimes I wonder if they’re trying to keep me busy,” she pondered.
Her busy schedule, however, has not stopped her from taking shots at the House Speaker on social media. Over the weekend, she sarcastically tweeted a number of infamous quotes from Pelosi, who once knocked her Green New Deal and mused about a cup of water labeled “D” being able to win Ocasio-Cortez’s district.
“A glass of water could’ve [beat a 20-yr incumbt]”
“The Green Dream or whatever”
“Their public whatever”
Those aren’t quotes from me; they‘re from the Speaker. Having respect for ourselves doesn’t mean we lack respect for her.
It means we won’t let everyday people be dismissed. https://t.co/VMRkcd8xlL
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 8, 2019
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
Despite Pelosi’s sharp words during Wednesday’s caucus meeting, Ocasio-Cortez told a reporter that she does not intend to change her Twitter habits.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN):
Omar is most well-known for making surprising antisemitic remarks. Her constant fumbles eventually forced Democrats to pass what was originally supposed to be a resolution condemning antisemitism. Pelosi initially refused to call for Omar to apologize for her antisemitic gaffes.
“I do not believe she understood the full weight of her words. These words have a history and a cultural impact,” Pelosi said.
In an effort to cover for the more extreme factions of her party, Pelosi scrambled, with the House passing a resolution that condemned forms of hate across the board rather than isolate antisemitism specifically. Instead, it condemned Islamophobia and failed to mention Omar by name. That came in the wake of Omar’s resurfaced 2012 tweet, which read, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
Omar also came under fire after remarks from a Washington Post profile, where she expressed her disappointment in the U.S. upon her initial arrival.
Omar spoke out following the contentious closed-door caucus meeting Wednesday and “defended her allies, saying she and other Democrats can vote however they want,” Politico reported.
“I hope that leadership understands their role and understands what our role is,” Omar remarked.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI):
Tlaib – another Squad member – frequently teams up with Omar to defend their off-color remarks and often accuses their critics of racism. In March, she publicly accused Rep. Steve Scalise’s call for Omar’s removal from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs of being rooted in Islamophobia.
“Hard to watch Rep. Scalise demand that Rep. @IlhanMN be removed from House Foreign Affairs w/o wondering if it’s steeped in Islamophobia,” she tweeted.
“Ilhan is more than capable of sitting on the committee & making decisions that are in the best interests of her constituents & all Americans,” she added.
She frequently serves as Ocasio-Cortez’s backup, repeating the same talking points in order to drive their joint-narrative home across social media.
“The continued policing and bullying by Liz and her crew of the WOC members of Congress is just proof that the GOP don’t have a policy agenda for the American people,” Tlaib tweeted in response to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who implored Ocasio-Cortez to brush up on “actual history” after comparing migrant shelters to concentration camps.
“Instead they want to focus on a hate agenda that doesn’t better our lives, but divides us more,” she added.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA):
Pressley, perhaps the lesser-known Squad member, has been just as key in promoting the group’s goals on social media. Pressley recently teamed up with ringleader Ocasio-Cortez to support Wayfair workers who planned to protest the company for providing additional beds to holding centers for child migrants.
She tweeted last month:
We must actively
#resist any & all efforts by this cruel, incompetent administration to cage children and separate families. I proudly stand in solidarity w/ the hardworking individuals at #Wayfair who are walking out in the name of #justice & humanity.
We must actively #resist any & all efforts by this cruel, incompetent administration to cage children and separate families. I proudly stand in solidarity w/ the hardworking individuals at #Wayfair who are walking out in the name of #justice & humanity. https://t.co/UFvCZNGeTJ
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) June 25, 2019
Pressley has also adamantly called for President Trump’s impeachment – a subject Pelosi has largely tried to avoid.
“As I’ve said, impeachment has always been on the table and should be on the table,” Pressley said in a February interview with Boston Public Radio.
“The occupant of the White House … has lost all moral authority and the high ground, and certainly it appears there could be evidence of obstruction of justice and other things, but I can’t substantiate until I see this report,” she continued.
Pelosi has stiff-armed her more vocal caucus member’s calls for impeachment. While she has softened her stance to a degree, she has yet to commit to actively pursuing impeachment, likely out of fears that it will damage the Democrat party’s chances of maintaining the House in the next election. While impeachment is popular among Democrats, the same cannot be said for the American electorate as a whole.
“We’ve been on that path for a while,” she said during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in June. “When we do get to where we’re going, we’re going to be ready.”
Pressley recently teamed up with Ocasio-Cortez, who slammed White House adviser Kellyanne Conway for describing the Squad’s squabble with Pelosi as a “catfight.”
“Catfight” is the sexist term Republicans use when two adult women happen to disagree with each other.
The reason they find it so novel &exciting is bc the GOP haven’t elected enough women themselves to see that it can, in fact, be a normal occurrence in a functioning democracy. https://t.co/s6eMMmvzrd
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 9, 2019
.@KellyannePolls oh hi Distraction Becky. Remember that time your boss tore babies from their mothers’ arms and threw them in cages? Yeah take a seat and keep my name out of your lying mouth. https://t.co/dS8saIssX8
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 9, 2019
The freshman Squad seems to be a thorn in Pelosi’s side, and it does not sound like members plan on changing their ways to satisfy the House Speaker.
Most recently, Ocasio-Cortez spoke to the Washington Post and implied that Pelosi is acting in a racist manner by the “explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”
“When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood,” Ocasio-Cortez reportedly told the Post.
“But the persistent singling out . . . it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful . . . the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color,” she added.
She later changed her tune, clarifying that Pelosi is “absolutely not” racist, despite her prior remarks suggesting otherwise.
It appears Pelosi is attempting to use the looming debt ceiling and spending battle to satisfy the more radical members of her party, “pushing for spending as high as $2 trillion above current law.”
As Breitbart News reported:
Pelosi’s opening bid for a two-year budget agreement would set government spending levels at where House Democrats’ appropriations packages are, which is much higher spending levels than current law mixed with policy riders that restrict immigration enforcement, as well as push the left’s view on climate, healthcare, abortion, and other policy matters.
However, the White House believes it can get Republicans on the same page and ultimately call Pelosi’s bluff and use her fractured party to their advantage.
At this point, there are no signs of the freshman Squad changing tactics. Onlookers can expect tempers to continue to flare as the Squad’s overwhelming social media influence – with millions of combined followers on Twitter alone – continues to grow.