Members of the “Squad” — Democrat freshmen lawmakers Reps. Ilhan Omar (ME), Ayanna Pressley (MA), and Rashida Tlaib (MI) — criticized House Democrat leadership, President Trump — and in Omar’s case, America, during a weekend conference for progressive activists.
Squad leader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) was not there, but that did not stop the other members from weighing on an ongoing fight between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez.
Their remarks came after Pelosi last week called for Democrats to stop tweeting, after Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff compared moderate House Democrats to pro-segregationist lawmakers on Twitter, and minimized the “squad’s” impact as “four people.” Ocasio-Cortez then accused Pelosi of “singling out” newly elected women of color,” prompting a black House Democrat to accuse her of playing the “race card.” On Friday night, the House Democrats’ official Twitter account blasted Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff.
Omar, while on a panel with Pressley, Tlaib, and fellow House Democrat Deb Haaland (NM), seemed to chastise Pelosi.
“We recognize every single person in Congress has a role. Our role is to take our votes, leadership’s role is to wrangle votes. And so when everybody understands what their role is, then everybody succeeds,” Omar said, according to a video of the panel posted on YouTube.
“But there’s a constant struggle often times with people who have power, about sharing that power. And we are not really in the business of asking for the share of that power. We’re in the business of trying to grab that power and return it to the people.”
Pressley also hit back at fellow Democrats, according to Mother Jones.
“We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice,” Pressley said. “We don’t need anymore black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need any more Muslim faces who don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need any more queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.”
Tlaib also defied Democrat leadership, who has tried to tamp down talk of impeaching Trump without having adequate support in Congress.
“We’re gonna impeach the M-F-er, don’t worry,” she said, according to Newsweek. “We went from ‘Oh, let’s not talk about it’ to close to 80 members of Congress coming out and supporting an impeachment inquiry in to this president.”
On a separate panel, Omar said she was “ashamed” of America’s “hypocrisy.”
She acknowledged that she is criticized as “anti-American” because she criticizes the United States. “I believe, as an immigrant, I probably love this country more than anyone that is naturally born.”
But she added, “I am ashamed of it continuing to live in its hypocrisy.”
“We export American exceptionalism — the great America, the land of liberty and justice. That is, you ask anybody walking on the side of the street somewhere in the middle of the world, they will tell you, ‘America the great.’ But we don’t live those values here,” she said with a laugh.
“And so that hypocrisy is one that I’m bothered by, I want America the great to be America the great.”
Watch the full response by Rep @IlhanMN about what being American means to her and how she responds to critique that she’s anti-American. Rep Omar says she believes that as an immigrant she loves America more than anyone who is a naturally born American. #NN19 pic.twitter.com/VFt92s2PSv
— Abraham Gutman (@abgutman) July 13, 2019
Omar’s remarks at the conference comes after a Washington Post profile that said the congresswoman criticized America as unjust to approximately 400 high school students.
President Trump reacted to the Democrat infighting over the weekend in a series of tweets on Sunday that criticized the “squad”:
So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.
Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!
He continued criticizing them on Monday, calling them “unpopular” and “unrepresentative”:
If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019
On Monday, Pelosi urged members to pass a resolution condemning Trump’s tweets on Sunday.
Follow Kristina Wong at @kristina_wong.