Omar: 'We never need to ask for permission or wait for an invitation to lead'

PHILADELPHIA — Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarPoll: Biden and Sanders tied nationally, followed by Warren More than 100 Democrats sign letter calling for Stephen Miller to resign Booker responds to Onion article mocking Buttigieg over stock photo MORE (D-Minn.) sought to energize progressive activists on Saturday, telling a crowd that lawmakers shouldn’t “ask for permission or wait for an invitation to lead.” 

Omar, addressing the Netroots Nation conference, an annual meeting of progressive activists, appeared to take jabs at Democratic House leadership after a week of tension between her fellow progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezPoll: Biden and Sanders tied nationally, followed by Warren More than 100 Democrats sign letter calling for Stephen Miller to resign Steyer, Biden clash over climate credentials MORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Deal on defense bill proves elusive | Hill, Holmes offer damaging testimony | Trump vows to block Navy from ousting officer from SEALs On The Money: Trump signs short-term spending bill to avoid shutdown | Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 | California high court strikes down law targeting Trump tax returns Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel MORE (D-Calif.).

“We recognize every single person has a role. Our role is to take our votes. Leadership’s role is to wrangle votes. And so if everybody understands what their role is, then everybody succeeds,” Omar said.

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Omar made the comments on a panel alongside Reps. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyWarren speech in Georgia interrupted by pro-charter school protesters Poll: Biden and Sanders tied nationally, followed by Warren Ayanna Pressley introduces extensive criminal justice reform resolution MORE (D-Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibPoll: Biden and Sanders tied nationally, followed by Warren More than 100 Democrats sign letter calling for Stephen Miller to resign Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack MORE (D-Mich.), two of her fellow freshman congresswomen. Along with Ocasio-Cortez, the lawmakers are known in Washington as “the squad.”

Omar appeared to double down on House progressives' feud with their party's leadership, suggesting that tensions within the party remain.

She said during the “Making Herstory: The Women Who Are Shifting the Balance of Power in Washington” keynote address that there's a "struggle, often times, with people who have power about sharing that power.”

“We are not really in the business of asking for the share of that power. We are in the business of trying to grab that power and return it to the people,” Omar added.

Omar's remarks came days after the four freshman congresswomen got into a heated public tangle with Pelosi, prompting the Speaker to admonish lawmakers during a closed-door caucus meeting this week.

Pelosi pressed Democrats to keep their disputes to themselves, later making it clear that a tweet, since deleted by Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, had motivated her speech. The tweet had ripped centrist Democrats, comparing them to segregationist Southern lawmakers.

The dust-up escalated when Ocasio-Cortez later accused Pelosi of racial insensitivity in an interview with The Washington Post.

Ocasio-Cortez accused Pelosi of singling out women of color for criticism as divisions linger over the passage of a $4.6 billion border bill. Ocasio-Cortez said she and fellow women of color have felt dismissed by Pelosi, who has thrown cold water on progressive issues such as the Green New Deal climate plan. At times, Pelosi made clear the freshmen do not speak for the full caucus.

By the end of the week, Pelosi signaled a desire to move on, saying she had nothing more to say on Thursday.

A growing number of progressive House Democrats, frustrated with the public squabbling, have accused Ocasio-Cortez of crossing a line when she suggested that Pelosi was treating minority women unfairly.