Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's team publicly feuds with Democratic lawmakers after they criticized her tactics

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.Carolyn Kaster/AP

  • Veteran Democratic members of Congress went on the record to criticize freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's tactics on Friday, sparking a public feud with her team.
  • The criticism provoked an immediate, withering response from Ocasio-Cortez's supporters, including her congressional staffers.
  • "The Democratic Party and the King of England have surprisingly similar reactions to democracy when their own power is threatened," tweeted Saikat Chakrabarti, Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff.

Veteran Democratic members of Congress went on the record to criticize freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's tactics on Friday, sparking a public feud with her aides.

Democratic lawmakers expressed frustration with Ocasio-Cortez in a Friday Politico report. Among their issues with the new member of Congress is her promise to support primary challengers to Democratic incumbents, her supporters' demand that she have a powerful House committee seat, and her criticism of the Democrats rules during her first days in office.

"I'm sure Ms. Cortez means well, but there's almost an outstanding rule: Don't attack your own people," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat, told Politico.

The criticism provoked an immediate, withering response from Ocasio-Cortez's supporters, including her congressional staffers.

"The Democratic Party and the King of England have surprisingly similar reactions to democracy when their own power is threatened," tweeted Saikat Chakrabarti, Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff.

Read more: THE TRUTH ABOUT ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: The inside story of how, in just one year, Sandy the bartender became a lawmaker who triggers both parties

Some Democrats are reportedly frustrated that Ocasio-Cortez has asked for positions on powerful committees, including Ways and Means.

"It totally pissed off everyone," a senior House Democrat told Politico of the demand. "You don't get picked for committees by who your grass-roots [supporters] are."

Chakrabarti slammed lawmakers for "planting" their criticism in the news outlet, rather than focusing on doing their jobs.

"I wish our Congress was as effective at organizing around legislation as they seem to be in organizing big money and planting crap stories in Politico," he went on. "Bullshit like this is why people have no faith in Congress doing its job -- because it doesn't."

Other supporters of the freshman characterized the criticism as sexist and ageist.

"The 'know your place, little girl' rhetoric is something that many young women have heard before. It comes from a place of misogyny, ageism, and pure jealousy," feminist writer Lily Herman tweeted on Friday morning. "Best of luck to all the Dems who went on the record with their condescending remarks in this piece."

Democratic lawmakers are particularly upset about Ocasio-Cortez's promise to support primary challenges to sitting Democrats who she and allied activists believe are insufficiently progressive.

In a call last November with activists, Chakrabarti said, "we gotta primary folks."

One Democratic congressional strategist wary of Ocasio-Cortez's insurgency told INSIDER it was, "The conference call heard 'round the world - or certainly 'round the caucus."

But Ocasio-Cortez has said she's only interested in supporting challengers to Democrats in safe blue districts.

On Friday morning, Justice Democrats - the progressive group that helped elect Ocasio-Cortez - announced its first 2020 primary target: Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar.
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