Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint 'The worst news': Political world mourns loss of Kobe Bryant Biden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements MORE (D-N.Y.) in a new interview has sought to distance herself from a controversial tweet sent by her former chief of staff, which accused some of her moderate Democratic colleagues of being racist.

In since-deleted tweets from last month, Ocasio-Cortez’s ex-chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti accused “Blue Dog” and “New Democrat” coalitions of the Democratic Party of being “hell bent” on implementing racist policies.

“They certainly seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s,” Chakrabarti said in the tweet.


Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with the New York Daily News released Thursday that she did not support Chakrabarti's comment.

“I think it was divisive,” Ocasio-Cortez told the tabloid. “I believe in criticizing stances, but I don’t believe in specifically targeting members."

She added that there was an “internal conversation” in her office after he shared the tweet.

“We’ve corrected it,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “He immediately took the tweet down.”

The tweet was widely criticized in the party. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Texas AFL-CIO endorses Cuellar's primary challenger MORE (D-Calif.) held a closed-door meeting to scold members for publicly complaining about other members of the party instead of bringing concerns to her. Pelosi addressed the meeting in a press conference, saying that some Democratic lawmakers “took offense” at the tweet casting them “essentially as segregationists.” 

“They took offense because I addressed, at the request of my members, an offensive tweet that came out of one of the members' offices that referenced our Blue Dogs and our New Dems essentially as segregationists,” Pelosi said at a news conference. “Our members took offense at that. I addressed that. How they're interpreting and carrying it to another place is up to them.” 

Rep. Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellSanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements Biden gains endorsement from Alabama's lone Democratic House rep House panel advances Trump's new NAFTA MORE (D-Ala.), a New Democrat Coalition vice chairwoman who is African American, also called out the tweet last month in a statement.

“I personally experienced Dixiecrats’ bigoted policies growing up. So, to even insinuate that I, or any other member of the New Dems, would promote policies that are racist and hateful or ones that would negatively impact communities of color is deeply offensive and couldn’t be further from the truth,” Sewell said.

Chakrabarti left Ocasio-Cortez’s office last week to join New Consensus, a climate change group that works to promote the lawmaker’s progressive “Green New Deal” initiative. But Ocasio-Cortez denied that the tweet was the reason for his departure. 

“We had been discussing this transition before that whole incident happened,” she told the Daily News.

Ocasio-Cortez also dismissed a complaint filed with the Federal Election Committee from the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog group, alleging that Chakrabarti  failed to properly disclose campaign payments. 

“All of these things were filed by these fringe, Republican groups. It’s a tactic they use and it’s very common,” she told the New York Daily News. “It’s a form of legal trolling.”