“What we are saying is, to have a message that appeals to people in a way that does not menace them.”
During a Monday appearance at the London School of Economics, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., devalued the much-vaunted 2018 election victory by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s 14th Congressional District.
Addressing the November elections that led to the Democrats retaking the House, Pelosi said that a “glass of water” with a “D” next to its name would win in overwhelmingly blue districts such as Ocasio-Cortez’s.
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“When we won this election, it wasn’t in districts like mine or Alexandria’s. And she’s a wonderful member of Congress, I think all of our colleagues will attest,” the California Democrat said.
“But those are districts that are solidly Democratic. This glass of water would win with a D next to its name in those districts,” Pelosi said while picking up a glass.
The veteran lawmaker touted her longstanding progressive credentials in an apparent swipe at the more radical upstarts – such as Ocasio-Cortez and fellow Justice Democrats Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. – within her party.
“‘I can compare my liberal credentials across the board. I said to them: ”Anything you’re about, I got that sign in my basement 20 years ago’,” she said, citing her own words to the San Francisco voters she represents, according to the Daily Mail.
“What we are saying is, to have a message that appeals to people in a way that does not menace them. I share those values – but we must win,” she added.
Her comments echo weekend remarks in which Pelosi appeared to downplay the influence of Ocasio-Cortez and her progressive faction and stressed the importance of appealing to mainstream voters.
“So you are contending with a group in Congress: Over here on the left flank are these self-described socialists, on the right, these moderates,” CBS correspondent Leslie Stahl asked Pelosi during a Sunday “60 Minutes” interview. “And you yourself said that you’re the only one who can unify everybody. And the question is can you?”
Pelosi replied, “By and large, whatever orientation they came to Congress with, they know that we have to hold the center. That we have to be m– go down the mainstream.”
“They know that?” Stahl pushed.
“They do,” Pelosi averred.
“But it doesn’t look like that. It looks as if it’s fractured,” Stahl said. “You have these wings, AOC and her group on one side –”
Grinning for some reason, Pelosi interrupted: “That’s like five people.”
In an interview with USA Today last week, the House Speaker appeared to take a shot at Ocasio-Cortez suggesting that the political upstart’s Twitter activism isn’t helping Democrats.
Pelosi said that her party needs to win elections, not likes on social media.
“While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what’s important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House,” Pelosi said.
While Pelosi did not name Ocasio-Cortez, both critics and defenders of the freshman congresswoman interpreted the comments as an attack.
Pelosi has repeatedly sought to reign-in a handful of freshman members of her party who have dominated the political media with their left-wing proclamations and over-the-top criticism of the Trump administration. The stars of the group have been three women: Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Omar of Minnesota and Tlaib of Michigan.
However, Pelosi has not always succeeded. Last month, she failed to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in response to a series of anti-Israel comments by Omar, instead settling for a vague rejection of bigotry in general. On Saturday, she had to defend Omar after President Donald Trump came after the Muslim congresswoman on Twitter for characterizing the Sept. 11 attacks as “some people did something.”
With progressives increasingly emboldened, some have raised concerns that the women are tarring the entire Democratic Party with their agenda, dooming its chances of retaking the White House or making gains in Congress in 2020.
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