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Pressley: Democrats don't need 'any more black faces that don't want to be a black voice'

Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyWarren says she'll run for reelection to Senate Bush testifies before Congress about racist treatment Black birthing people face during childbirth, pregnancy Genetic material from 1993 killing revealed years after another man executed for crime, groups say MORE (D-Mass.) reportedly said Democrats don't need "any more black faces that don't want to be a black voice" during a liberal Netroots Nation conference on Saturday, a comment that comes as racial politics threaten to divide the party.

The Washington Post reports Pressley said she's not interested in bringing "a chair to an old table." 

“This is the time to shake that table. ... We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice,” Pressley reportedly said during the event. “We don’t need any more black faces that don’t want to be a black voice.”

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Pressley's spokeswoman, Lina Francis, told the Post the congresswoman was making the point that “diversity at the table doesn’t matter if there’s not real diversity in policy.” The Hill has reached out to Pressley's office. 

Pressley's comments followed a tumultuous week of Democratic infighting, as establishment Democrats continue to clash with a new wave of elected progressives in the party. 

Pressley and fellow freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Outrage rises among liberals over Israel Battle lines drawn over Biden's support for vaccine waivers Overnight Energy: Update on Biden administration conservation goals | GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices | Push for nationwide electric vehicle charging stations MORE (D-N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibThe Memo: Outrage rises among liberals over Israel Hundreds of Palestinians hurt in clash at Jerusalem holy site Six House Democrats ask Garland to review case of lawyer placed under house arrest over Chevron suit MORE (D-Mich.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarThere will be no new immigration law under Biden, unless he changes course Free Speech Inc.: The Democratic Party finds a new but shaky faith in corporate free speech Schumer works to balance a divided caucus's demands MORE (D-Minn.) clashed with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden reverses Trump limits on transgender protections The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns This week: Congressional leaders to meet with Biden amid GOP reckoning MORE (D-Calif.) after the four progressives did not vote for a border aid package last month when Pelosi put forward a Senate-approved bill. 

Pelosi told The New York Times’s Maureen Dowd that the congresswomen "have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got."

Ocasio-Cortez then called out Pelosi for "the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color," though she said she does not think Pelosi is racist. 

Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, also came under attack in a Twitter feud last week after he said Rep. Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsIs nonpartisan effectiveness still possible? Biden to meet with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure When infrastructure fails MORE (D-Kan.), who is Native American, has taken votes that "enable a racist system." 

The House Democratic Caucus tweeted back that Davids is a "phenomenal new member who flipped a red seat blue." 

Chakrabarti pushed back on the caucus, saying Davids is a friend and his tweet was aimed at the "terrible border funding bill that 90+ Dems opposed." 

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), aligned with Pelosi, is also furious with the progressive group Justice Democrats for backing challengers to incumbent lawmakers of color, especially African Americans. 

Justice Democrats backed Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez in their successful bids to oust powerful, long-term Democratic incumbents. 

The group is backing primary challengers to eight-term Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), a Hispanic Caucus member, and 10-term Rep. Wm. Lacy ClayWilliam (Lacy) Lacy ClayLiberal advocacy group stirs debate, discomfort with primary challenges Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Progressives target Manchin, Sinema with new PAC MORE (D-Mo.), a CBC member. 

The group has also floated the idea of finding a primary challenger to House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a CBC member primed to be Pelosi's successor. 

CBC leaders fear the progressive group may target other black House Democrats in coming weeks.