Dem lawmaker praises Ocasio-Cortez for her 'spunk'

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Homeland Security chairman calls on new Trump aide to reestablish cyber coordinator House Democrat urges Trump to address online extremism at UN MORE (D-Miss.) praised progressive freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez mocks 'White House ethics' in Instagram post Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi set to unveil drug price plan | Abortion rate in US hits lowest level since Roe v. Wade | Dems threaten to subpoena Juul Kennedy to challenge Markey in Senate primary MORE (D-N.Y.), saying he glories "in her spunk."

Thompson said on Wednesday that the Democratic Party as a whole could use more “young and talented” lawmakers like Ocasio-Cortez.

“For AOC, I glory in her spunk because we need young, talented people,” Thompson told Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons during an interview that aired on "Rising."

Thompson added that he thinks the various skirmishes within the Democratic Party are “healthy,” citing the last thing they need is a party “where everyone agrees.”

Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman to be elected to Congress in November, months after she shocked the political world by upsetting 10-term incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley (D) in New York's 14th District.

Even though Congress has been traditionally white and male, the 116th Congress made history with a record number of both women and minority lawmakers.

The number of African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic lawmakers are at new highs.

The freshman class also boasted a number of historic firsts. This includes the elections of Reps. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOmar says she hopes Netanyahu not reelected Bill Maher, Michael Moore spar over Democrats' strategy for 2020 Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight MORE (D-Mich.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Omar asks Twitter what it's doing in response to Trump spreading 'lies that put my life at risk' Trump seeks to expand electoral map with New Mexico rally MORE (D-Minn.), the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

Thompson said the freshman class is a “melting pot of America manifesting itself" and a sign that the party is "maturing." He also emphasized that diversity is a strength, not a weakness, for the Democrats. 

“It’s the maturing and broadening, rightfully so, of the Democratic Party and a recognition that our diversity is our strength,” he told Hill.TV.

— Tess Bonn