House Democrats are reportedly not happy with the anti-establishment antics of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Some have reportedly decried the freshman lawmaker’s refusal to fall in line with her colleagues and her declarations to support primary challengers against Democratic incumbents, according to a Politico report Friday.
Nearly 20 lawmakers and aides reportedly spoke about an effort underway to bring the democratic socialist “into the fold,” getting her to turn her criticisms against Republicans and not those in her own party.
“I’m sure Ms. Cortez means well, but there’s almost an outstanding rule: Don’t attack your own people,” Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said. “We just don’t need sniping in our Democratic Caucus.”
Democratic leaders were also reportedly frustrated when Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter the first week of the new Congress to criticize the new set of House rules as well as tell her more than 2 million Twitter followers that she would not be voting with her party on a Democratic rules package.
A grassroots campaign to pressure House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to add the 29-year-old New York congresswoman to the powerful Ways and Means Committee was also a point of contention for established Democrats, “a top committee post they feel she doesn’t deserve,” Politico reported.
“She needs to decide: Does she want to be an effective legislator or just continue being a Twitter star?” a House Democrat “in lockstep” with the new lawmaker’s ideology said. “There’s a difference between being an activist and a lawmaker in Congress.”
The report indicated that while some are trying to rein in the progressive lawmaker, others “simultaneously warn Ocasio-Cortez is destined for a lonely, ineffectual career in Congress if she continues to treat her own party as the enemy.”
Fellow New York Rep. Nydia Velázquez has reportedly been privately counseling Ocasio-Cortez against attacks on her Democratic colleagues, according to Politico. The women have had a “long, long conversation” about the dynamics in Washington, D.C and Congress, speaking about how every district does not need a “litmus test.”
Velázquez also advised Ocasio-Cortez to think twice before backing primary challenges against her colleagues.
“Washington is a political animal where a lot of the work that you want to accomplish depends on relationships within the Democratic Caucus,” Velázquez said.
“I think she needs to give herself an opportunity to know her colleagues and to give herself a sense of the chemistry of the body before passing judgment on anyone or anything,” fellow New York Democratic Rep. Yvette Clarke said while Oregon’s Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader said Ocasio-Cortez “doesn’t understand how the place works yet.”
Though she reportedly did not respond to Politico’s request for comment directly, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a fiery response to another remark linking to the story on Friday.
To quote Alan Moore: “None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with YOU. You’re locked up in here with ME.” ? https://t.co/8TCmKNJlkD
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 11, 2019
Saikat Chakrabarti, Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, clapped back at critics on Twitter.
The Democratic Party and the King of England have surprisingly similar reactions to democracy when their own power is threatened. https://t.co/eKwRR0rzFp
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) January 11, 2019
Some Democrats are advising colleagues to just get used to Ocasio-Cortez.
She’s “going to force some of the members to have to align with or against her,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the former head of the House Progressive Caucus, said. “In that sense, I would assume that can be irritating to some.”
“Maybe it’s the aunt or uncle you didn’t want to invite to the wedding,” the Arizona Democrat added, but she “is part of the family.”