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

Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksEmbattled Juul seeks allies in Washington House Democrat knocks Trump's Cummings tweet: 'This guy is a terrible, terrible human being' Pelosi backers feel vindicated after tumultuous stretch MORE reportedly called out fellow New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezStudents retreating from politics as campuses become progressive playgrounds Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas 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 PelosiMoulton drops out of presidential race after struggling to gain traction Conservatives push Trump tariff relief over payroll tax cuts Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence 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 TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? 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.