Saturday, 13 July 2019

Trump defends Pelosi after she's accused of racism by freshman Rep, Ocasio-Cortez

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has an unlikely defender: President Donald Trump in her spat with fellow democrats.

Earlier this week freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York accused Pelosi of “the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color” after Pelosi chided them in a caucus meeting.

The conflict between Pelosi and the progressive wing of her caucus stems from a debate over a spending package for humanitarian relief on the southern U.S. border. 

Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive Democrats had wanted to add stronger protections for migrants in the initial House draft of the bill. Pelosi later caved to Republicans and allowed the House to pass the Senate version of the bill, which lacked many of the protections progressive Democrats had sought.

Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti took to Twitter and complained that Democrats were propping up a broken system that “fuels a racist ideology.” The chief of staff compared moderate Democrats to Southern Democratic segregationists.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
The spat escalated when Pelosi, in an interview with The New York Times, responded to opposition about the bill by Ocasio-Cortez and freshman Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.; and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

She downplayed the influence of Ocasio-Cortez’s group, saying their power is only four votes.

“They’re just four people,” she said of the freshmen lawmakers.

Ocasio-Cortez fired back, calling Pelosi’s comments “just outright disrespectful” in an interview with The Washington Post and complained about “the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.” 

Trump, who has had more than his own share of run-ins with Pelosi, came to her defense on Friday.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Trump was asked to weigh in on the clash between Pelosi and the group.

"I'll tell you something about Nancy Pelosi that you know better than I do: She is not a racist,” Trump told reporters.

Trump slammed Ocasio-Cortez for being “very disrespectful” to Pelosi. He added, “For them to call her a racist is a disgrace.”

“I deal with Nancy Pelosi a lot, and we go back and forth and it’s fine, but I think that a group of people is being very disrespectful to her, and for them to call her a racist is a disgrace.”

Trump and Pelosi have had an up-and-down relationship since she assumed the speakership and has led a House Democratic majority during Trump's third year in office. She has sought to serve as a check on the President but also resisted some calls from within her ranks to push for Trump's impeachment.

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