Pelosi downplays divisions with Ocasio-Cortez after meeting

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMnuchin emerges as key asset in Trump's war against coronavirus Graham: Pelosi comment on Trump is 'most shameful, disgusting statement by any politician in modern history' The coronavirus pandemic versus the climate change emergency MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday downplayed any divisions between the party brass and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Energy: Court upholds Trump repeal of Obama fracking rule | Oil price drop threatens fracking boom | EPA eases rules on gasoline sales amid coronavirus Ocasio-Cortez blasts coronavirus stimulus package as 'shameful' on House floor Oil price drop threatens US fracking boom MORE (D-N.Y.) following a meeting with the progressive freshman, who has ruffled feathers within the caucus for her aggressive brand of liberal activism.

Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez huddled in the Speaker's office in the Capitol Friday morning for approximately 30 minutes amid lingering tensions between liberals and moderates over the party's approach to immigration, Israel and other hot-button issues — a feud that's found Democratic leaders scrambling for unity.

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Pelosi emerged from that meeting largely dismissing the idea that there are tensions between the two.

"I don't think we have that many differences," she said. "We had a nice meeting. We had a nice meeting."

Ocasio-Cortez left by another door and avoided commenting. 

Pelosi said the pair talked about "an array of issues" related to Ocasio-Cortez's position on the Financial Services and the Oversight and Reform committees. She framed the discussion as a run-of-the-mill talk between the Speaker and a member of the caucus. And she chided the media for focusing on the palace intrigue of the Capitol in lieu of issues affecting the lives of people outside of the Beltway. 

"I have meetings with members all the time. I wish you would be interested in them [like the meeting] yesterday on the subject of more funding for committee health centers, more concern about what's happening at the border," she said.

An hour later, Pelosi tweeted a picture of the two in Pelosi's office, saying they spoke about "working together to meet the needs of our districts and our country, fairness in our economy and diversity in our country."

Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, stunned Washington last summer with her primary victory over former Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), a 10-term incumbent with eyes on the Speakership. And she revealed early on that she was ready to take on anyone she considered an impediment to her ambitious liberal policy agenda, joining an environmental protest in front of Pelosi's office on the very first day of the new Congress in January. 

Friday's meeting came following a weeks-long spat between Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez, in the news and on social media, beginning with the late-June debate over funding to address the migrant crisis at the southern border. 

Ocasio-Cortez and the freshmen liberals of her "squad" — Reps. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus 20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Pressley, Tlaib introduce bill providing .5B in emergency grants for the homeless MORE (D-Mich.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTexas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Undocumented aliens should stay away as COVID-19 rages in the US The Southern Poverty Law Center and yesterday's wars MORE (D-Minn.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPressley experiencing flu-like symptoms, being tested for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill Pressley, Tlaib introduce bill providing .5B in emergency grants for the homeless MORE (D-Mass.) — were furious that Pelosi had accepted a Senate version of the border bill, favored by moderates, which excluded specific protections for migrants in detention. 

After the vote, Ocasio-Cortez’s top aide, chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti, accused the centrist members of the Blue Dog and New Democrat coalitions of being racist.

Pelosi responded in an extraordinary closed-door meeting of the caucus where she scolded her troops for airing grievances on social media instead of taking their concerns directly to her.   

“You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it," she said. "But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK."

Hours later, Ocasio-Cortez told The Washington Post that Pelosi was "explicit[ly] singling out of newly elected women of color.”

Asked Friday if the pair discussed those remarks, Pelosi declined to comment. 

"I've got to get in here,” she said, marching to the House chamber to open a pro forma session.