WASHINGTON – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is welcoming a new member to "The Squad": 82-year-old Rep. Bill Pascrell.
The New Jersey Democrat asked Tuesday to be part of the outspoken group of House Democratic congresswomen who have been given their own moniker.
Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., are the four freshmen lawmakers who have collectively become known as "The Squad."
Pascrell responded to a tweet from The Onion, a satirical website, that posted an article entitled "82-Year-Old New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell Quietly Asks Ilhan Omar If He Can Be Part Of The Squad."
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"Well. How bout it @AyannaPressley @AOC @RepRashida @IlhanMN?" Pascrell tweeted.
Shortly afterward, Ocasio-Cortez gave her approval to the 82-year-old.
"You’re in, @BillPascrell!" Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, with several emojis including a smiley face and heart.
The exchange comes as President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized "The Squad" in recent days.
Over the weekend, Trump tweeted for the progressive lawmakers to "go back" to their country, a phrase often used in racist tropes. Three of the lawmakers were born in the U.S. Omar came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia more than 20 years ago and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
The president has doubled down on his comments several times since his initial tweets on Sunday. The four congresswomen held a press conference Monday denouncing Trump's comments, calling them "racist," "xenophobic," and "bigoted."
Pascrell is one of many Democrats who have defended the congresswomen from Trump's attacks, saying that the president "can't leave soon enough."
Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also criticized the congresswomen after they voted against a border funding bill. The speaker's statement sparked tension between The Squad and Pelosi, which has since been diminished following Trump's remarks as Pelosi and many Democrats have lined up in solidarity behind the four congresswomen.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ocasio-Cortez to New Jersey Democrat: 'You're in' the Squad