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Ocasio-Cortez won’t say for sure if she’ll support Pelosi for Speaker

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would not definitively say she would support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reelection if Democrats retain control of the chamber following next week’s general elections.

In an interview Sunday with CNN’s “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper, the freshman New York Democrat who is on a glide path to be reelected said it was important first to focus on ensuring that left-wing Democratic candidates win and that the party expands its House majority.

In addition, Ocasio-Cortez said that if Pelosi, California Democrat, were the “most progressive” person running for Speaker, then she would support her.

“If Speaker Pelosi runs again, as she just indicated she will, if the Democrats keep the House, will you support her?” Tapper asked.

“I want to make sure that we win the House,” she responded. “I do believe that we will, but it’s critically important that we are supporting Democrats in tight swing races, making sure that not only all of them come back but that we grow our majority.”

She added: “I believe that we have to see those races as they come, see what candidates are there. I am committed to making sure that we have the most progressive candidate there. But, if Speaker Pelosi is that most progressive candidate, then I will be supporting her.”

Earlier, Pelosi, 79, told Tapper that she planned to run again for Speaker if her party retains control of the House, as the host pressed her on failure to reach a deal with the GOP-controlled Senate and the White House on a new coronavirus relief package.

“For us to do anything — I want to just say to our friends out there who are suffering — and the country is suffering, working families are suffering, millions more went into poverty, in the month of September, nearly 900,000 women left the workforce, so, we have to act — to do anything, though, that does not crush the virus is really official malfeasance,” Pelosi responded.

As for Pelosi, she and Ocasio-Cortez have had a rocky relationship during the nearly two years the self-described “Democratic Socialist” and titular leader of the party’s extreme left has been in office.

At times, the two of them have feuded publicly after Ocasio-Cortez reluctantly backed Pelosi for speaker in January 2019 after the new Congress was sworn in and after vowing not to support her.

In April of that year, Pelosi said during an interview with USA Today that appeared to be aimed at Ocasio-Cortez, “While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what’s important is that we have large enough numbers of votes on the floor of the House.”

“I’m a progressive from San Francisco. I think I can have some credentials on the left, as a person who has represented a very liberal city,” Pelosi said the previous month. “But you have to govern mainstream.”

In June 2019, the New York lawmaker was aggravated with Pelosi’s hesitance to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump, telling ABC’s Jonathan Karl the frustration was “quite real.”

In July of last year, Pelosi took a shot at Ocasio-Cortez and her “Squad” of fellow Democratic Socialist Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.). In an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Pelosi said of the group, “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world, but they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

In response to Pelosi’s criticism, Ocasio-Cortez blamed race, claiming Pelosi was being “disrespectful” toward “newly elected women of color.”

Her use of the so-called ‘race card’ was slammed by Rep. William Clay (D-Mo,), who is black. “Unbelievable. That’s unbelievable to me. I could care less. I could really care less. I agree with the Speaker. Four people, four votes out of 240 people, who cares,” he said.

“She’s only a woman of color when it’s convenient. None of the things she’s fought for aligned with communities of color and her group is funded only by elitist white liberals; she’s a puppet,” a Democratic staffer told The Hill.

“Her peers do not take her seriously,” a senior Democratic source said added, Fox News’ Brooke Singman tweeted. “They think it is absurd to call the speaker racist. Offensive and absurd.”

Jon Dougherty

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