Pelosi downplays divisions with Ocasio-Cortez after meeting

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Justices rule Manhattan prosecutor, but not Congress, can have Trump tax records Supreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress Pelosi on Baltimore's Columbus statue: 'If the community doesn't want the statue, the statue shouldn't be there' MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday downplayed any divisions between the party brass and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTrump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Trump glosses over virus surge during Florida trip 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 see victory in Trump culture war The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid MORE (D-Mich.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid MORE (D-Minn.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressives zero in on another House chairman in primary Ocasio-Cortez pitches interns to work for her instead of McConnell 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.