House Democratic Caucus rebukes Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff

The House Democratic Caucus issued a rebuke of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Pro-Trump Republican immigrant to challenge Dem lawmaker who flipped Michigan seat 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE’s (D-N.Y.) chief of staff Friday evening amid a public spat between House leadership and a small group of progressive members.

The caucus hammered Saikat Chakrabarti for comments he made going after Rep. Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsOcasio-Cortez chief of staff to leave her office The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller testimony gives Trump a boost as Dems ponder next steps House Democrats delete tweets attacking each other, pledge to unify MORE (D-Kan.), who is Native American. Chakrabarti said in the quoted tweet that Davids had taken votes that “enable a racist system.”

“Who is this guy and why is he explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color? Her name is Congresswoman Davids, not Sharice. She is a phenomenal new member who flipped a red seat blue. KeepHerNameOutOfYourMouth,” the House Democratic Caucus tweeted Friday evening.

Chakrabarti pushed back, calling Davids a friend and emphasizing that his previous tweets were aimed at calling out a "terrible border funding bill that 90+ Dems opposed," saying it "gave Trump a blank check to continue caging people in horrendous conditions."

"Our Democracy is literally falling apart. I'm not interested in substance-less Twitter spats," he added.

Justice Democrats, a prominent progressive group that supported Ocasio-Cortez’s long-shot congressional bid last year and gained national renown after her victory, also fired back at the caucus, noting that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhy President Trump needs to speak out on Hong Kong Anti-Trump vets join Steyer group in pressing Democrats to impeach Trump Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid MORE (D-Calif.) urged members this week to not tweet their grievances against other colleagues.

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The feuding began when Chakrabarti, in a now-deleted tweet, described centrist Democrats last month as "new Southern Democrats" that "certainly seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s."

Pelosi on Thursday said the tweet offended a number of Democrats and scolded her party at a closed-door meeting this week. 

“So, again, 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,” she said, according to a source in the room.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Ocasio-Cortez then accused Pelosi of singling out women of color for criticism, seeming to reference the group of four outspoken progressive congresswomen, including Ocasio-Cortez, known as “the squad.”

Pelosi said at a press briefing the next day that the closed-door meeting was called after members took offense to Chakrabarti’s tweet but appeared intent on preventing the infighting from escalating.

"I'm not going to be discussing it any further," Pelosi said. "I said what I'm going to say."

The public feud has deepened the rifts among House Democrats between centrists and progressives and between freshmen and leadership, with some worrying that the disputes could hinder unity on key pieces of legislation.

"I don't really want to get into this back-and-forth. I would hope it would stop," House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerLiberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar Israel denies Omar and Tlaib entry after Trump tweet MORE (D-Md.) told reporters on Thursday.