Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that Nancy Pelosi is picking on newly-elected women of color

Pelosi Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) greets Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) before a ceremonial swearing-in picture on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 3, 2019.Joshua Roberts/Reuters

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the "explicit singling out of newly elected women of color," referring to a group of freshmen Democrats who have disagreed with Pelosi.
  • Ocasio-Cortez told the Washington Post that Pelosi's criticism of her and other members of the unofficial group has become "outright disrespectful."
  • Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley have clashed with Pelosi over the Democratic Party's stance on issues like border control and impeaching President Trump.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has engaged in "explicit singling out of newly elected women of color" in her attempts to maintain control of the Democratic Party.

Ocasio-Cortez complained that Pelosi's treatment of a group of congresswomen - herself, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley - is now "outright disrespectful."

The group of four, all in their first term, often vocally disagree with the rest of the party on issues including border control and whether to pursue the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Ocasio-Cortez said that Pelosi had been making "comments" about the group, a move that she increasingly sees as "disrespectful."

"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," she said.

Read more: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez goes after Nancy Pelosi: 'We won't let everyday people be dismissed'

"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."

She did not expand the issue of race, which she mentioned only once.

According to the Post, Ocasio-Cortez's group is trying to manage Pelosi's recent efforts to isolate them.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida TlaibRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib at a House Committee meeting in February 2019.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The four women - sometimes referred to as the "Squad" - are considering how to respond to Pelosi, according to The Post, including whether they should confront her.

Ocasio-Cortez said that she doesn't want to talk to Pelosi about it, saying: "There hasn't really been a relationship, to be frank."

Pressley told The Post that Pelosi's recent comments were "demoralizing" and that worries about the "signal that it sends to people I speak to and for, who sent me here with a mandate, and how it affects them."

The other groups' members have had more positive interactions, The Post reported, though still feel isolated.

Pelosi has downplayed the four women's influence on the party, which she characterized as existing primarily online and in the media. Pelosi told The New York Times on Saturday that: "All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world."

"But they didn't have any following. They're four people and that's how many votes they got."

She was speaking about the group's opposition to a border bill in June, which the House voted in favor of.

Ilhan Omar Nancy PelosiRep. Ilhan Oma poses with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for a ceremonial picture as she is sworn in as a member of Congress in January 2019.REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

In response to the Times article, Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, tweeted: "All these articles want to claim what a legislative mastermind Pelosi is, but I'm seeing way more strategic smarts from freshman members."

"Pelosi is just mad that she got outmaneuvered (again) by Republicans."

Read more: Nancy Pelosi lectures Democrats and urges against a Twitter civil war amid a feud with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

On Wednesday, Pelosi told Democrats in a closed-door meeting that they should not tweet complaints about other party members, Politico reported.

"You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it," she reportedly said. "But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just ok."

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