According to Democrats in the meeting, Pelosi also urged members against tweets admonishing fellow Democratic members of Congress. Just one recent example: Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff came under fire for comparing moderates to segregationists (he has since deleted the tweet).
On Thursday morning, however, Ocasio-Cortez appeared to stand by her claim that Pelosi unfairly singles out women of color, telling CNN, “It’s really just pointing out the pattern, right? We’re not talking about just progressives, it’s signaling out four individuals. And knowing the media environment that we’re operating in, knowing the amount of death threats that we get, knowing the amount of concentration of tension, I think it’s just worth asking why.”
Though when asked if she believes that Pelosi has racial animus, Ocasio-Cortez said adamantly, “No, no, absolutely not, absolutely not.”
Moderate members argued that it was important to pass a Senate version of the legislation when it appeared that the upper chamber would refuse to take up the House bill, while progressives railed against the process and insisted that lawmakers were not doing enough to negotiate for and ensure adequate protections for migrant children detained at the border.
Pelosi defenders question AOC’s remark
A number of House Democrats came to Pelosi’s defense on Thursday in the wake of Ocasio-Cortez’s “singling out” comment.
Karen Bass, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told CNN that the criticism that Pelosi singles out women of color is not correct and that she planned to talk to the freshman Democrat about it.
“I did see that she said that, and I actually want to go talk to her about that,” Bass said, adding, I don’t believe that that’s the correct.”
Asked if the criticism is unfair, Bass said: “Well, I want to find out why she’s making that criticism. I certainly know that she has been critical of some women of color. But I don’t think that means that that’s who she’s targeting.”
Rep. Lacy Clay of Missouri accused Ocasio-Cortez of using “the race card.”
“What a weak argument,” Clay said. “Because you can’t get your way, and because you are-, you’re getting pushback, you resort to use the race card? Unbelievable. Unbelievable to me.”
A progressive House aide told CNN that they have never seen members picked on by a speaker this much before. The aide added that the “alienation” of the freshmen progressives has been a pattern and said, “unless you are a woman of color in that situation I don’t think you can judge.”
‘It’s time to move on’
Meanwhile, some House Democrats are seeking common ground between the factions.
A key progressive voice, Rep. Ro Khanna of Calfornia, who is friends with Ocasio-Cortez, told CNN that it is time to move on and rally around the Speaker.
“It’s time to move on. Let’s rally around the Speaker,” Khanna said on Thursday. “We need to support the Speaker and she is the most successful woman in American politics in history. She is the leader and we need to support her and focus our fire on people like Mitch McConnell or the President.”
And some members appear to hope that further discussion could lead to a productive result.
Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan, a co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive caucus, said on Thursday that he and Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, another co-chair, are setting up a meeting with Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland.
“We’re actually setting up a meeting,” Pocan replied when he was asked about the public divisions. “This is a pretty busy week on the floor for everybody, but probably next week.”
Jayapal was spotted speaking with Pelosi on the House floor on Thursday afternoon for around 10 minutes.
“We’ve asked for — Mark Pocan and I — have asked for a meeting with her, not just to talk about this but to talk about the general relationship of the progressives to the Democratic caucus. And so we’re looking forward to having that discussion with her,” Jayapal said on Thursday.
Jayapal said that in general she believes that Pelosi has been “very respectful of our members,” but added, “It’s always harder when it’s perceived as coming from your own side, whether that was how it was intended or not, it’s always much harder.”
“I would like to know what’s going on here because I don’t think that this is typically — the comments she made, however she meant them, have a certain interpretation, obviously, and I think it’s just important that we clear this,” she said.
Jayapal added. “But you know, you gotta have broad shoulders around here, and it doesn’t always feel very good, and it’s just a constant thing we deal with as women of color.”
CNN’s Morgan Rimmer, Sarah Fortinsky and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.