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

Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyHouse votes to award medal to Willie O'Ree, first Black NHL player It's time for President Biden to use his vast clemency power Ayanna Pressley says she has tested COVID-19 positive in breakthrough case 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-CortezMan who threatened to kill Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi pleads guilty to federal charges These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Missouri House Democrat becomes latest to test positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOvernight Energy & Environment — Biden announces green buildings initiative Tlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer House Democrats inquire about possible census undercount in Detroit, other communities MORE (D-Mich.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSenate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Overnight Defense & National Security — DOD watchdog to review extremism screening Omar calls for closure of Guantánamo Bay prison after 20 years of 'lawlessness and cruelty' MORE (D-Minn.) clashed with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse has the power to subpoena its members — but does it have the will? Man who threatened to kill Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi pleads guilty to federal charges The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems look to repackage BBB into salvageable bill 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 DavidsKansas GOP's redistricting plan targets Rep. Sharice Davids Abortion rights group endorsing 12 House Democrats Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Vulnerable House Dems push drug pricing plan 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 ClayThe FCC must act to promote minority-owned broadcasting Cori Bush hits her stride by drawing on activist past Lobbying world 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.