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New York Democrat on Ocasio-Cortez, other progressives: 'Primaries go two ways'

Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksHispanic Caucus endorses Castro for Foreign Affairs gavel Dozens of progressive groups endorse Joaquin Castro for Foreign Affairs chair Castro pledges to term limit himself if elected Foreign Affairs chair MORE reportedly called out fellow New York Democratic 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 and other progressives for their ongoing feud with House leadership, saying “primaries go two ways.”

Meeks, who is serving his 11th term in Congress, told the New York Daily News on Friday that Ocasio-Cortez should back down from her public spat with 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.).

“Primaries go two ways,” he told the Daily News. “If someone picks a fight with somebody else, you fight back. That’s what my parents told me.”

He added, “If you get in the ring, expect that people are going to start throwing punches.”

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Meeks, a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), echoed remarks he made in an interview with The Hill on Thursday, when he said that those who try to come after CBC members could face their own primary challengers.

“I don’t know what that agenda is, but if they want to come after members of the Black Caucus, it’s two ways,” warned Meeks, who clashed with Justice Democrats, a progressive group, over support for candidates in a Queens district attorney race last month.

A growing number of progressive House Democrats, frustrated with the feud between Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez, have accused the freshman New York lawmaker of crossing a line when she suggested that Pelosi was treating minority women unfairly, seemingly referencing herself and three other progressive congresswomen known as "the squad."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE offered rare support for Pelosi on Friday, saying he thought Ocasio-Cortez was “very disrespectful to somebody who’s been there a long time.”

“I deal with Nancy Pelosi a lot and we go back and forth and it’s fine, but I think that a group of people is being very disrespectful to her,” Trump said. “And you know what, I don’t think that Nancy can let that go on.”

Meeks called Ocasio-Cortez’s comments “intolerable,” adding that “we’re all on the same team. You don’t go after the speaker like that.”

Meeks also went after Justice Democrats, which supported Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional bid last year, saying both the group and the candidates it supports are potential threats to the Democrats' House majority.

“I would hope that these individuals would realize who the opposition is here,” Meeks told the Daily News. “The focus should be to keep the majority, grow the majority and win the presidency.”

A second Republican announced Friday that he would launch a campaign challenging Ocasio-Cortez for her seat next year. No Democratic challenger to Ocasio-Cortez has yet to declare their candidacy.