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

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBiden to go on Iowa tour with swing district lawmakers CNN cancels next week's Iowa town halls Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez hit back at JPMorgan CEO over comments on socialism: 'That's funny' MORE (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats hammer abuse of power charge, allege Trump put self over country Overnight Energy: Trump issues rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections | Pelosi slams new rule as 'an outrageous assault' | Trump water policy exposes sharp divides Pelosi slams Trump administration's new water rule: 'An outrageous assault' 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 OmarSanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPressley says she 'would welcome the opportunity' to educate DeVos after abortion, slavery comparison Massachusetts governor apologizes after calling Pressley speech a 'rant' Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden Democrats press Trump administration to stop DNA collection from detained migrants Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive 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 ConwayKellyanne Conway knocks Biden, talks up Sanders in Wash Post op-ed Democrats sharpen case on second day of arguments 'Emotion' from Trump's legal team wins presidential plaudits 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.