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

Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleySanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire Booker unveils legislation for federal bill to ban discrimination against natural hair House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump 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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

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-CortezWarren proposes 'Blue New Deal' to protect oceans Trump tops list of most tweeted about politicians in 2019 Buttigieg campaign says 2000 people attended Iowa rally MORE (D-N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — GOP, Democrats square off at final impeachment hearing Live coverage: Democrats, Republicans seek to win PR battle in final House impeachment hearing Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (D-Mich.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump Al Green calls for including Trump's 'racism' in impeachment articles MORE (D-Minn.) clashed with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate Tech legal shield included in USMCA despite late Pelosi push GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' 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 DavidsWarren adds Ayanna Pressley as campaign co-chair Overnight Health Care: Democratic group to only endorse AG candidates who back abortion rights | Protect Our Care launches seven-figure ad buy to boost vulnerable Dems | California sues Juul Group launches seven-figure ad buy boosting vulnerable Democrats on drug prices 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 ClayLawmakers honor JFK on 56th anniversary of his death Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny Maloney wins vote for Oversight chairwoman 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.