Two of the most radical members of socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office have reportedly stepped down, thus making them what appear to be the first two scalps in the congresswoman’s feud with both her fellow Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Saikat Chakrabarti, her chief of staff, and Corbin Trent, her director of communications — who, through their work with Justice Democrats, have been alongside Ocasio-Cortez since her primary run — will leave the lawmaker’s office,” The Intercept confirmed Friday.
Both Chakrabarti and Trent have been extremely controversial figures — as has Justice Democrats, a radically far-left PAC co-founded by Chakrabarti.
Back in mid-June, Trent accused one of AOC’s 2020 election challengers of being “entitled” after he had the apparent audacity to challenge her to a debate:
Shortly thereafter, Chakrabarti posted a highly inflammatory and since-deleted tweet ripping “moderate” Democrats such as those within the Blue Dog Coalition as “Southern Dems” who “certainly seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s.”
He also accused Rep. Sharice Davids, a black woman, of voting “to enable a racist system” by doing the apparently unthinkable and voting to provide emergency aid to the Department of Homeland Security’s grossly underfunded illegal alien detention facilities.
These tweets triggered a feud between Ocasio-Cortez’s far-left team and her fellow Democrats so heated that Pelosi eventually entered the picture to try to calm tensions, only to wind up being accused by AOC of being a racist and slammed by the Chakrabarti’s Justice Democrats for her “out-of-line lashing out at our squad.”
im cringing on behalf of people i don’t even agree with rn pic.twitter.com/4ODJV41NN6
— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) July 11, 2019
“our squad” i am so uncomfortable pic.twitter.com/5j2HyH65yP
— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) July 11, 2019
By “squad,” the PAC also meant fellow Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, whose own behavior and rhetoric has also been controversial and oftentimes unbecoming.
Ocasio-Cortez’s office has claimed that Chakrabarti and Trent’s seemingly abrupt, previously unannounced “departures are not a result of the dust-up with leadership, and were decided well before the public feuds took place,” according to The Intercept.
“The idea from the start was to have Ocasio-Cortez’s office continue to build out a movement beyond the walls of Congress, a member of her staff told The Intercept.”
“They had never really planned to build a career on the Hill, and always had their sights on returning to on-the-ground activism after they got things rolling. With the momentum building around her signature proposal for a Green New Deal, and Congress entering recess, the staffer said, it made sense to formalize the transitions, which had been in the works for some time, now.”
Nobody appears to believe this, though …
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 2, 2019
— GuyFawkssenseofregret (@Guy93640282) August 3, 2019
— NydeanLoL (@NydeanLoL) August 2, 2019
— Mister. American (@MisterAmerican1) August 2, 2019
If the departure had been the result of the feud it probably would’ve come a lot sooner after the initial controversy, not weeks later.
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) August 2, 2019
yeah ok. what a load of bs.
— FMF (@FMF67) August 3, 2019
— Marc (@MarcusG25686280) August 2, 2019
I watch House of Cards and Designated Survivor so I can say with confidence that they were forced out.
— Santo Valentino (@santovalentino) August 2, 2019
Many find the timing especially suspicious, given as Chakrabarti and Trent’s departure was announced exactly a week after Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi met privately to squash their beef.
Though to be fair, Trent will still be working for AOC — just not in her office. He’ll specifically be transitioning to the congresswoman’s 2020 reelection campaign team.
“With the Ocasio2020 campaign beginning to ramp up, I’ve asked Corbin to transition to the campaign full-time and he has agreed to do so,” the congresswoman said in a statement to The Intercept. “I’m looking forward to growing the movement with him in Queens and the Bronx and across the country.”
Fair enough. With Chakrabarti, who’s been a fair more controversial figure, he’ll be joining New Consensus, a radical but obscure non-profit that “works to develop and promote the Green New Deal.” AOC has claimed that she’ll still be “working with him,” albeit indirectly.
“Saikat has decided to leave the office to work with New Consensus to further develop plans for a Green New Deal,” she said to The Intercept. “I am 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 campaign and in the official office, Saikat’s goal has always been to do whatever he can to help the larger progressive movement, and I look forward to continuing working with him to do just that.”
It’s unclear if she’ll also still be “working with” the Justice Democrats, who’ve had multiple Federal Election Commission complaints filed against them these past few months because of their sketchy finances.
“The group attracted three Federal Election Commission complaints filed by conservative groups because of an odd setup in which money from the PAC flowed into two limited liability companies controlled by Chakrabarti,” the New York Post notes.
Learn more about these complaints below:
The congresswoman has also been accused of shady financial behavior.
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