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

PHILADELPHIA — Rep. 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 (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-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.) and 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.).

“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 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 (D-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 (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.