Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff to leave her office

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHarris rebounds after difficult trip Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Hillary Clinton backs Shontel Brown in Ohio congressional race MORE's (D-N.Y.) chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti is leaving the freshman's office after a series of controversies, according to a report in The Intercept.

“Saikat has decided to leave the office of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to work with New Consensus to further develop plans for a Green New Deal,” Ocasio-Cortez communications director Corbin Trent told The Intercept in a statement. 


“We are extraordinarily grateful for his service to advance a bold agenda and improve the lives of the people in NY-14. From his co-founding of Justice Democrats to his work on the Ocasio-Cortez campaign and in the official office, Saikat’s goal has always been to do whatever he can to help the larger progressive movement, and we look forward to continuing working with him to do just that,” Trent said.

Rumors of Chakrabarti’s exit had circulated around Capitol Hill in recent days, with multiple Democratic sources saying he was not expected to return to Ocasio-Cortez's office after the recess.

Chakrabarti sparked outrage from members of the Democratic caucus last month after he tweeted messages attacking centrist Democrats, insinuated that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection Overnight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post Trump against boycotting Beijing Olympics in 2022 MORE (D-Calif.) is an ineffective leader and suggesting Native American lawmaker Rep. Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsDemocratic Kansas City, Mo., mayor eyes Senate run Is nonpartisan effectiveness still possible? Biden to meet with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure MORE (D-Kan.) voted “to enable a racist system” by voting in favor of a Senate border aid bill that didn’t include provisions backed by progressives.

Critics argued Chakrabarti’s rhetoric on social media was highlighting divisions within the party, with the House Democratic Caucus responding to his accusations on Twitter. 

“Who is this guy and why is he explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color?” stated a tweet from the House Democratic Caucus account sent last month. The tweet noted Chakrabarti's tweet about Davids and was retweeted by a number of Democratic leadership staffers.

The chief of staff had previously worked at Justice Democrats, a liberal group that has sought to replaces sitting Democratic House members with more liberal candidates. Ocasio-Cortez herself was recruited by the group, and defeated former Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in what was a huge upset. 

The exit follows a meeting between Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi that took place ahead of the lawmakers flying out for August recess, where the Speaker downplayed divisions between Democratic leadership and the far-left flank of the party. 

Chakrabarti is expected to continue work on advancing the Green New Deal at nonprofit the New Consensus, per The Intercept.

Trent is also leaving Ocasio-Ortez's congressional office to lead communications for her reelection campaign. It's a role he previously served in 2018.

“With the Ocasio 2020 campaign beginning to ramp up, I’ve asked Corbin to transition to the campaign full-time and he has agreed to do so,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Intercept. “I’m looking forward to growing the movement with him in Queens and the Bronx and across the country.