Starkly injecting race into his criticism of liberal Democrats, President Donald Trump said four congresswomen of color should go back to the “broken and crime infested” countries they came from, ignoring the fact that all of the women are American citizens and three were born in the U.S. His attack drew a searing condemnation from Democrats who labeled the remarks racist and breathtakingly divisive. Following a familiar script, Republicans remained largely silent after Trump’s Sunday morning broadsides against the four women. But the president’s nativist tweets caused Democrats to set aside their internal rifts to rise up in a united chorus against the president. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump wants to “make America white again.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, after jousting for days with Pelosi, said Trump “can’t conceive of an America that includes us.” Trump, who has a long history of making racist remarks, was almost certainly referring to Ocasio-Cortez and her House allies in what’s become known as “the squad.” The others are Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Only Omar, from Somalia, is foreign-born. Ocasio-Cortez swiftly denounced his remarks . “Mr. President, the country I ‘come from,’ & the country we all swear to, is the United States,” she tweeted, adding that “You rely on a frightened America for your plunder.” Omar also addressed herself directly to Trump in a tweet, writing: “You are stoking white nationalism (because) you are angry that people like us are
At a pivotal moment Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood before House Democrats with a lofty message and a stark warning. The battle-born leader implored her majority, after days of high-profile public infighting, to focus on common goals — including defeating President Donald Trump — and to silence the sniping that threatens their fragile hold on power. The lengthy closed-door session underscored the broader divisions between her centrist and liberal members — and between Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with her “squad” of star-power freshmen — that are testing party unity and reshaping Democrats ahead of the 2020 election. “Without that unity, we are playing completely into the hands of the other people,” Pelosi said, according to a person who was in the meeting room but not authorized to talk publicly about the internal discussion. “We’re a family and we have our moments,” Pelosi told colleagues. “You 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.” Then came the very Pelosi-like hammer to those who may want to publicly attack the members who make up her majority: “Think twice,” she said. “Actually, don’t think twice. Think once.” Ocasio-Cortez arrived late to the session and did not speak, according to a second person who attended the session. But she didn’t need to. AOC, as she is called, had already delivered her own lengthy pre-buttal to The New Yorker in which she decried the
They don’t talk to each other much, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But they’re lately speaking at one another in a way that threatens party unity and underscores broader tensions reshaping the Democrats. Their power struggle has spilled open in what could be a momentary blip or a foreshadowing of divisions to come. It started with a rare public rebuke — Pelosi chiding AOC, as she’s called, in a newspaper interview; AOC responding pointedly on Twitter — that’s now challenging the House agenda and rippling into the 2020 presidential campaign. A new test will come this week on a must-pass defense bill that the White House on Tuesday threatened to veto. At its core, the tension between the most powerful Democrat in the country and one of the party’s newest, most liberal members embodies a debate over how best, in style and substance, to defeat President Donald Trump. And both sides think they’re right. For allies of the longtime California congresswoman, Pelosi’s off-handed dismissal of Ocasio-Cortez and the three other liberal freshmen House members who opposed a border security package last month was a necessary comeuppance for “the squad” of newcomers who are trying to push the party leftward. “These people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi told The New York Times. “But they didn’t have any following.” In the speaker’s world, they lack what Pelosi often calls “the currency of the realm” — the power to turn their high-volume activism into a coalition
Controversy broadsided the embattled U.S. Border Patrol agency Monday, as a high-profile U.S. Congresswoman touring detention facilities called conditions “horrifying” and as current and former agency staffers were alleged to have posted offensive comments about the lawmaker and migrants on a private Facebook page. Migrants held at a border patrol station in Texas were subjected to psychological abuse and told to drink out of toilets, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said after a visit with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to the main border patrol facility in El Paso. The tour, which also included a visit to a Clint, Texas, facility, followed reports from a government watchdog that immigrants were being housed in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. “After I forced myself into a cell with women and began speaking to them, one of them described their treatment at the hands of officers as “psychological warfare,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a first-term New York Democrat, wrote on Twitter after leaving the El Paso border patrol station. “This has been horrifying so far.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which oversees Border Patrol, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on her statements about the visit. The Border Patrol also came under fire on Monday following a report by the non-profit news site ProPublica that offensive content had been posted on a private Facebook group for current and former CBP officers. Posts included jokes about the deaths of migrants and sexually explicit comments referencing Ocasio-Cortez, the news outlet said. Reuters did not independently
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of course, is the 29-year-old bartender who last year upset the No. 4 House Democrat in a New York City primary and became one of this Congress’ most buzzy and even influential figures. Her startling victory sent shivers through incumbents and has helped galvanize liberals eager for more fresh Democratic faces in 2020.
On June 26, 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Bronx native, made history when she thoroughly defeated 10-term New York Democratic congressman Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th congressional district in the state’s Democratic primary, with close to 58 percent of the vote. It was her first time running for office, and as a Democratic Socialist of Puerto Rican descent, her stunning victory over the fourth most powerful Democrat in the House was a boon to the progressive change that many liberal voters have been demanding.
From an early age, Alexandria grew up with a deep understanding of income inequality. The state of Bronx public schools in the late 80s and early 90s sent her parents on a search for a solution. She ended up attending public school in Yorktown—40 minutes north of her birthplace. As a result, much of her early life was spent in transit between her tight-knit extended family in the Bronx and her daily student life. It was clear to her, even then, that the zip code a child was born in determined much of their destiny. The 40-minute drive represented a vastly different quality of available schooling, economic opportunity, and health outcomes.