WASHINGTON—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempted to pull her caucus together Wednesday telling her members to stop attacking one another on social media and if any of them had issues to bring them to her personally.
“So, again, you got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it,” Pelosi told Democrats, according to a source in the room. “But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK,” Pelosi said a source in the room told Politico.
Some lawmakers in the room thought the speaker was referring to
Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who tweeted that moderate Democrats were members of the “Child Abuse Caucus” for supporting the Senate’s emergency humanitarian package.
However, the speaker’s office said her comments were not describing any one member and Pocan, who was absent from the meeting, later told Politico that Pelosi personally spoke with him on the phone and apologized if her remarks were interpreted that way.
Nevertheless, the California Democrat defended moderate Democrats within the party at the closed-door meeting stressing their importance to hold the majority in the lower chamber. Additionally, she said if progressives need to publicly criticize anyone to go after her not the moderate Democrats.
“We are a family, and every family has its moments,” the speaker reportedly said.
Pelosi also cautioned members about the online behavior of their own staffers seemingly taking a shot at Saikat Chakrabarti, New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff who attacked Pelosi on Twitter last weekend over her view on impeachment and criticism freshmen progressives.
Ocasio Cortez told reporters Wednesday of the meeting, “It’s unfortunate what gets interpreted as an attack. When we approve five billion dollars to agencies that are killing kids, and I represent a district that’s 50 percent immigrant, my families and communities feel attacked. And I have a responsibility to stand up for them.”
She added, “I think that it would be hypocritical for me to remain silent on injustices just because those injustices may come from our side of the aisle. I think that it erodes one’s integrity and neglects to only point out wrongs when Republicans do them and to not point out wrongs when Democrats do them too, frankly.”
The New York Democrat found herself in a tit for tat back and forth with Speaker Pelosi during recess that she described to reporters on Tuesday night as “puzzling” more than anything else.
She insisted, however, that she has no intention to smear moderate Democrats in swing districts but that her ideas could help them win their re-elections.
“I think every member needs to represent their own district well and if that’s not where their the district is at and that’s about where the district is that I’m not here to…malign anyone for trying to represent their communities as best as they know how,” she said.
“There’s this kind of false argument that progressive issues are losing issues in swing districts. I disagree with that. I think that there are a lot of our policy proposals that are exceedingly popular even among Republican voters.” She added, “I think that we have a responsibility as a Democratic Party to expand our electorate and not just to try to win over existing voters as well.”