What appeared evident to the public was reportedly even more so behind the scenes: There was bad blood between former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
Ryan Grim, a reporter with The Intercept, documents in his new book, “The Squad: AOC and the Hope of a Political Revolution,” how things between Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez started out on a better note.
In the summer of 2018, Pelosi called to congratulate the then 28-year-old on her upset victory over Rep. Joe Crowley, who was then chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and was said to have designs on ousting Pelosi as party leader, The Guardian reported.
Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez first met in person in July 2018 in a restaurant in San Francisco.
Pelosi completely dominated the conversation, according to Saikat Chakrabarti, AOC’s chief of staff at the time.
“She just keeps talking; it’s a fascinating thing,” Chakrabarti recalled. “We were eating, and she just talked the entire time without even taking a break. And I wasn’t sure exactly what she was saying, but I was like, ‘Huh, OK.’”
One topic that came up was Ocasio-Cortez’s call to “Abolish ICE,” the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. It was a key issue the New Yorker ran on when unseating Crowley.
Pelosi told her the phrase had been injected into American politics by the Russians, and AOC needed to drop it.
When the Democrat leader showed up in New York during AOC’s general election campaign, the candidate dodged requests for a meeting.
Then, shortly after being elected in November 2018, the congresswoman-elect participated in a sit-in regarding climate change in front of Pelosi’s Capitol Hill office.
In 2019, after Democrats took control of the House and Pelosi became speaker for a second time, Ocasio-Cortez and the other “Squad” members, Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, voted against a bill Pelosi backed that included funding for border enforcement.
It was compromise legislation between Republicans and Democrats, when the GOP controlled the Senate.
Pelosi responded at the time that AOC and the Squad “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,” The New York Times reported.
In the fight over immigration policy, the then-speaker observed, “Some of you are here to make a beautiful paté, but we’re making sausage most of the time,” according to Politico.
In a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting in July 2019, Pelosi chided members, including the Squad, for going public over their disagreements with House leadership.
“[Y]ou got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK.”
At another caucus meeting in 2021, Ocasio-Cortez “confronted” Pelosi over the infrastructure bill Democrats were looking to pass, saying it needed more social spending, including measures to combat climate change, according to Grim’s book.
Then, in a rare phone call between the two women, AOC told Pelosi that her Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee vendors “sucked.”
Ocasio-Cortez said “that it was strange that after I beat Crowley not a single person bothered to ask how I beat him … and how I think we should pay attention and ask questions when that happens, to spot weaknesses. She got so mad at me.”
Grim cites texts from Ocasio-Cortez throughout his book, including one from her to him regarding Pelosi saying, “The amount of times she told me that stupid ‘I have protest signs older than you in my basement’ s***. Like, yeah, but mine don’t collect dust.”
Ocasio-Cortez told the author that since Rep. Hakeem Jeffries has taken over as leader of the House Democrats her life has improved drastically.
“I thought a lot of my misery was due to leadership more broadly having a thing against me. But … my life has completely transformed. It’s crazy. And it’s that that made me realize it was kind of just [Pelosi] the whole time.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.