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

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTrump tweets Thanksgiving criticism of NFL QBs for kneeling Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation 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 OmarBiden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far GOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyGOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' Pelosi faces caucus divisions in Biden era Record number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBiden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' 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 ConwayWomen set to take key roles in Biden administration Lara Trump mulling 2022 Senate run in North Carolina: report Press: Where is Jim Baker when we need him? 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.