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

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTop Missouri newspaper condemns GOP's 'shameful silence' on Trump's 'racism' Restaurant in city where Trump rally held donating profits to immigrants Crowd chanting 'welcome home Ilhan' greets Omar at airport MORE (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSally Yates: Moral fiber of US being 'shredded by unapologetic racism' Al Green calls for additional security for House members after Trump rally #IStandWithPresTrump trends in response to #IStandWithIlhan 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 OmarAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Sally Yates: Moral fiber of US being 'shredded by unapologetic racism' MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Sally Yates: Moral fiber of US being 'shredded by unapologetic racism' MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Sally Yates: Moral fiber of US being 'shredded by unapologetic racism' 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 ConwayFederal guidance identifying 'go back to where you came from' as discrimination goes viral after Trump comments Kellyanne Conway says she meant 'no disrespect' with question about reporter's ethnicity Kellyanne Conway asks reporter 'what's your ethnicity' while defending Trump's 'go back' comments about minority lawmakers 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.