Rep. William Lacy Clay slammed fellow Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday, after the latter insinuated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was racist.
In a Washington Post interview published on Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez said Pelosi was “singling out” newly elected “women of color in Congress.”
“When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “But the persistent singling out … it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful … the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Clay, an African-American and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, accused the freshman congresswoman of “using the race card.”
“What a weak argument, because you can’t get your way and because you’re getting pushback you resort to using the race card? Unbelievable. That’s unbelievable to me,” Clay said. “I could care less. I could really care less. I agree with the Speaker. Four people, four votes out of 240 people, who cares.”
Other black members of congress also disputed Ocasio-Cortez’s assertion that Pelosi’s actions were “racially motivated.”
“There are a lot of things you can say about her. I have never, in all of my interactions with her, ever thought that anything she has said or done was racially motivated, other than to look out for people of color,” said Rep. Val Demings, a Florida Democrat.
The origins of the spat between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi
Pelosi has repeatedly downplayed the significance of the AOC wing of the Democratic Party. In an interview with The New York Times on Saturday, she chastised Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and two other progressive freshmen Democrats for last week voting against a $4.6 billion bill for emergency border funding. She said they had made themselves “irrelevant to the process.”
“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi said. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
Ocasio-Cortez quickly fired back on Twitter, saying that by helping to pass the legislation, her fellow Democrats were “blindly” trusting President Donald Trump and bargaining with people’s lives, “& for what?”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib also defended her vote in an ABC interview Wednesday and suggested Pelosi didn’t understand the “no” voters’ “pain” as women of color.
Back in April, Pelosi said during a talk in London that “a glass of water” with “a ‘D’ next to its name” could have won in Ocasio-Cortez’s district or in her own.
In an appearance on ABC’s “60 Minutes” a day earlier, Pelosi denied that the party was “fractured,” dismissing Ocasio-Cortez and crew as “like five people.”
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