AOC: Pelosi Saddling Me with Work to Keep Me out of Spotlight [Updated]
The civil war between the Democratic Party’s left flank and extreme left flank is heating up.
Days after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi mocked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and trio of her freshmen colleagues — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) — for focusing on Twitter and PR at the expense of legislation, AOC issued another broadside against Pelosi.
"All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world," Pelosi told the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd published Saturday. "But they didn't have any following. They're four people and that's how many votes they got."
Today in an interview with WNYC’s “New Yorker Hour,” AOC accused Pelosi of intentionally saddling her with work to keep her out of the spotlight.
“I was assigned to some of the busiest committees and four subcommittees,” AOC said. “So my hands are full. And sometimes I wonder if they’re trying to keep me busy.”
The New York lawmaker had been describing why she declined Pelosi’s offer to sit on a standing committee on climate change. AOC said she declined the Speaker’s offer after she had refused AOC’s demands for what the committee should do.
Asked about how the relationship with Pelosi is generally, AOC deadpanned: “I think sometimes people think that we have a relationship.”
UPDATE: Pelosi responded during a Democratic caucus meeting.
“In every family you have your moments — Right, do you not have your moments in your family? Do you all agree all the time on everything? Do you?,” Pelosi said, according to BuzzFeed. “We’re a family and we have our moments and we’re like a kaleidoscope… But we’re all a resource to each other and we must never undermine the strength of anyone in our caucus.”
AOC then responded later in the afternoon, telling BuzzFeed: “I think the issue at hand is that it’s not just about Caucus dynamics, this is about children dying in DHS and ICE custody. And that’s ultimately what this is about, this is not about any kind of political dynamic."
Here’s an excerpt from AOC’s interview on WNYC:
HOST: “What’s your relationship like with Nancy Pelosi. Tell me how that works, what are the dynamics of it?”
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “You know, I think sometimes people think that we have this — like we have a relationship.” (Laughter)
HOST: “Are you saying you don’t?”
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “Not, not particularly, not one that’s I think distinguished from anyone else. Like if there’s a legislative need, you know. The last time I kind of spoke to her one on one was when she asked me to join the Select Committee on Climate Change.”
HOST: “What did you say.”
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “I said no.” (Laughter)
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “Because I had made very specific requests which I thought were rather reasonable for the Select Committee on Climate Change. I asked that it have a mission to try to draft legislation by 2020 so that — so that we essentially have a 2 year mission to put together whether it’s a Green New Deal or whether it’s some sweeping climate change legislation that — that the select committee have a legislative mission. I asked for it to have subpoena power which most committees do. The last — the last select committee had subpoena power but now this one doesn’t. And I asked for the members who sit on the select committee to not take any fossil fuel money. And none of those requests were accommodated, and so I didn’t join the committee.”
HOST: “Are you better on the outside looking in or the inside looking out?” [crosstalk]
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “I think — I think I’m better on the outside looking in, on this issue.”
HOST: “Why is that?”
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “Because given that none of those standards were met sitting on that committee I would have to own anything — I would take responsibility for anything that comes out of that committee. And when the actual my opinion, the structure of it, is compromised in very deep ways, you know it’s not — I don’t think it was like I’m going to take my ball and go home, it’s we have a select committee whose mission — I’m — I was uncertain on who’s members take fossil fuel money. You know it’s — it’s beyond just a mere disagreement I think there’s a structural problem with it. And so — and there are plenty of other caucuses as well that work on climate issues. So I think — I think that that ultimately I’m fine with the decision especially given the committee assignments that I was ultimately given, which were very intense and very rigorous. I was assigned to two of some of the busiest committees and four subcommittees so my hands are full, and sometimes I want to they’re trying to keep me busy.” (Laughter)
HOST: “Well, how did Pelosi react when you turn her down and being on that —“
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “She was fine with it. She said OK.”
HOST: “She thinks you were being — one way or another was she annoyed?”
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “I don’t — I don’t think so.”
HOST: “She doesn’t do annoyance.”
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “Yeah. I don’t think — I mean, maybe she — she does do slight annoyance but it’s not direct or indirect. I don’t know. I think this is the thing where it’s like — forst of all I think leadership, their — their primary goal right now is making sure that everyone who want to swing seat comes back. So I think that that’s where a lot of their time rightfully I think justifiably is invested in — in those relationships.”