Pelosi downplays divisions with Ocasio-Cortez after meeting

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance McCarthy pulls GOP picks off House economic panel GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday downplayed any divisions between the party brass and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWomen's March endorses Nina Turner in first-ever electoral endorsement Grassley pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa JD Vance takes aim at culture wars, childless politicians 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 TlaibOmar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy House passes bill requiring EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water Ohio becomes battleground for rival Democratic factions MORE (D-Mich.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOvernight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia US launches second Somalia strike in week Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy MORE (D-Minn.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOn The Money: Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause | IMF estimates 6 percent global growth this year Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause and wipe out K per borrower Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy 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.