Ocasio-Cortez explains criticism of Pelosi, says she's 'absolutely not' racist

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSteyer, Biden clash over climate credentials Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny Sanders doubles down on Bolivia 'coup,' few follow suit MORE (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE (D-Calif.) is “absolutely not” racist after accusing her the day before of targeting four women of color in the House for criticism.

“No, no, absolutely not,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN when asked if she believed Pelosi was racist or motivated by racial animus.

However, the freshman progressive stood by her criticism of Pelosi for dismissing her and fellow Democratic Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarBooker responds to Onion article mocking Buttigieg over stock photo Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Progressives oppose spending stopgap measure over surveillance authority extension MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyAyanna Pressley introduces extensive criminal justice reform resolution Ocasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field Justice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Progressives oppose spending stopgap measure over surveillance authority extension Ayanna Pressley introduces extensive criminal justice reform resolution MORE (Mich.). Ocasio-Cortez had earlier accused Pelosi of “persistent[ly] singling out ... newly elected women of color.” 

“I think it’s really just pointing out a pattern, right?” Ocasio-Cortez said on Thursday.

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“We’re not talking just about progressives, it’s singling out four individuals and knowing the media environment we’re operating in, knowing the amount of death threats we get, knowing the amount of concentration of attention, I think it’s worth asking why,” she added.

In an interview over the weekend with The New York Times’s Maureen Dowd, Pelosi dismissed the influence of the four progressive freshmen.

“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi said. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter, "That public 'whatever' is called public sentiment."

In a closed-door caucus meeting on Wednesday, Pelosi reportedly told House Democrats not to criticize one another on social media.

“You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK,” Pelosi allegedly said.

Ocasio-Cortez has emphasized her respect for Pelosi and repeatedly pushed back on characterizations of the tensions as a feud, blasting White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayConway and Haley get into heated feud: 'You'll say anything to get the vice-presidential nomination' NBC signs Mueller 'pit bull' prosecutor Andrew Weissman as legal analyst George Conway and Trump Jr. trade personal insults during impeachment hearing MORE for referring to it as a “catfight” rather than “two adult women [who] happen to disagree with each other.”

At her weekly press conference Thursday, Pelosi said she's "not going to be discussing it any further," trying to put the matter to rest.

"I said what I'm going to say," Pelosi told reporters.