Home / Business / An increasingly public, racially-charged rift is widening after attacks between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s camp and the Democratic establishment

An increasingly public, racially-charged rift is widening after attacks between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s camp and the Democratic establishment

A racially-charged rift between left-wing Democrats and the Party establishment has emerged in recent days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and prominent progressives exchanged barbs.

Rep. Ilhan Omar and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Meeks told The Hill, “It just seems strange that the social Democrats seem to be targeting members of the Congressional Black Caucus, individuals who have stood and fought to make sure that African Americans are included and part of this process.”

Progressives were quick to express their outrage over the attacks. Leaders of Justice Democrats insisted that the group isn’t led by wealthy white people in fact, it’s led by people of color from working class backgrounds.

“It’s deeply concerning that House leadership seems to be focused on attacking progressive Democrats who want the party to fight more aggressively against Trump’s cruelty at the border,” Waleed Shahid, the communications director for Justice Democrats, told INSIDER. “Instead senior leaders and their aides seem to be more focused on making anonymous incendiary and false accusations about our organization and our candidates and sending distasteful images about AOC to the press than serving the American people.”

Lindsey Boylan, a former adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who’s running a primary challenge against New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, told INSIDER that the House Democrats have become “a prop to mete out vendettas against individuals within our party.”

More establishment Democrats say Chakrabarti is a target for being a particularly outspoken, public-facing Hill staffer.

Ian Russell, a Democratic strategist and former deputy executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told INSIDER that Chakrabarti “has definitely looked for ways to raise his profile that aren’t traditional for a [chief of staff]” and “that grates on members and other staffers.”

[caption id="attachment_4909" align="alignnone" width="406"] Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Deb Haaland spoke at Netroots Nation on Saturday.[/caption]

‘We are in the business of grabbing power’

At a major gathering of progressive activists in Philadelphia on Saturday, Rep. Ilhan Omar said that she and other progressive lawmakers are looking to “grab” power from congressional leadership. Omar spoke on a panel with three other freshmen women of color: Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Deb Haaland, and Rashida Tlaib.

“There’s a constant struggle with people who have power about sharing that power,” she told an enthusiastic audience at Netroots Nation. “And we are not really in the business of asking to share that power we are in the business of grabbing that power to return it to the people.”

When the conversation turned to initiating an impeachment investigation into the president something Pelosi has firmly opposed Tlaib insisted that Democrats would eventually “impeach that MFer.”

“Don’t worry,” she added to laughs and applause.

But other members of the so-called “squad” weren’t looking to inflame tensions on Saturday. Pressley said during the panel that she isn’t interested in “palace intrigue” and is instead focused on poverty, health disparities, and gun violence in her district.

Later on during the event, Pressley argued that Washington needs more diverse voices that are willing to transform politics.

“We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice,” she said to big applause. “We don’t need any more black faces that don’t want to be a black voice.”

After a reporter interpreted her comments as a response to the Congressional Black Caucus’ criticism, Pressley insisted that she didn’t intend to criticize her colleagues. (The CBC endorsed former Rep. Mike Capuano over Pressley during their 2018 primary).

“Just stop it. I said no such thing & spent much of my air time (as did the other Mbrs of Congress) lauding @RepBarbaraLee & others,” she wrote , replying to a Twitter user who said she “went #uncletom on the #CBC.” “I was inferring nothing. I was celebrating the power & value of *every* person’s voice based on their lived experiences.”

Haaland told reporters after the event that she’d like her colleagues to “just stop tweeting for a while,” pointing to the detention of migrants at the border and other big issues of the day as more pressing concerns.

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