Newly elected House Democrats just started congressional orientation this week, but divisions within the freshman caucus are already starting to show.
Speaking on The New York Times’ podcast The Daily on Thursday, Rep.-elect Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) appeared to scoff at her new Democratic colleague, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.), recent high-profile climate change protest in current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office earlier this week.
Host Michael Barbaro asked Spanberger about the protest and whether or not she participated.
“No, no, no,” the newly elected representative from Virginia laughingly replied. Barbaro asked Spanberger why she didn’t participate.
“My priority is to get things done and solve problems,” she said. “And that requires that we be bringing people into a conversation. And any sort of action that might stop that conversation before it even begins to happen, I think, isn’t serving the goal that I seek to pursue.
“I don’t actually pay attention to it,” she added. “That is of little consequence to me or my desire to be an effective leader and an effective member of this freshman class.”
Spanberger was also asked if her agenda is at all at odds with the more progressive wing of the freshman Democratic class.
“No, and I think the big tent, Democratic Party where people have vibrant voices and are passionate about the things that they believe in — I think that’s really, truly healthy for our Democracy,” she said.
While Spanberger said earlier in the podcast that she won’t support Pelosi as speaker, the newly elected Democrat, who ousted Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) in last week’s midterms, praised the potential future House leader as a “fantastic example.”
“She has been an incredible representative for her district and continues to be, and quite frankly, so many of the women who are here — she blazed a path for so many of us.”