Ocasio-Cortez Denies Fracture With Pelosi, Seeks Meeting

Terrence Dopp
Ocasio-Cortez Denies Fracture With Pelosi, Seeks Meeting

(Bloomberg) -- Freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez disputed the notion that there’s been any “fundamental fracture” between her progressive “squad" of lawmakers and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Ocasio-Cortez and the group’s three other members said in their first joint interview -- which aired Wednesday -- that they’re happy to sit down with Pelosi and work out their differences, which stem in part from a $4.5 billion border funding bill they said didn’t do enough to rein in the Trump administration on immigration.

“Just as there were members of Congress that did not vote for the Speaker on the House floor the day of our swearing in, just as there members who challenge her conclusions, who disagree with her, so do we from time to time,” Ocasio-Cortez told CBS. “But that does not mean that there is a fundamental fracture or a dehumanizing going on within our caucus.”

Asked if they’d be willing to sit down with Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez said “absolutely” and said their staffs have been in communication about setting up a meeting.

Republicans and President Donald Trump have tried to tie all Democrats to the progressive -- and at times controversial -- images of Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

Trump has tweeted that they should “go back” to the countries they came from. Three of the lawmakers are U.S.-born and all are American citizens and women of color.

The Democratic-led House responded Tuesday to Trump’s sustained attacks on the lawmakers by taking the extraordinary step of rebuking the president for racism. The resolution -- backed by all 235 Democrats, four Republicans and one independent -- accused the president of having “legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

The Democratic infighting escalated in June over the emergency border spending measure, when some liberals opposed Pelosi’s decision to accept a bipartisan Senate bill instead of a House version with greater protections for child migrants. Pelosi told the New York Times that the four women lawmakers “didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

The four progressive lawmakers were the only members to vote against new money for locking up migrants.

Tlaib said Pelosi has the ability to convene a meeting at any point.

“She is speaker of the House, she can ask for a meeting to sit down with us for clarification,” Tlaib said. “Acknowledge the fact that that we are women of color, so when you do single us out be aware of that and what you’re doing. Especially because some of us are getting death threats. Because some of us are being singled out in many ways because of our backgrounds, because of our experiences."

(Updates with Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib commments starting in third paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Terrence Dopp in Washington at tdopp@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kasia Klimasinska at kklimasinska@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth Wasserman, Kathleen Hunter

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