The progressive Squad may see a close ally turn on them.
Veteran Journalist Susan Page of USA Today profiled Pelosi for her upcoming biography, “Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power,” noting that the speaker adopted a “child-like voice,” when speaking about Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the Squad, which includes Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.).
“Pelosi unloads on the Squad, at one point adopting a child-like voice when discussing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” Axios reported.
Pelosi sent the progressive lawmakers a blunt message, “You’re not a one-person show. This is the Congress of the United States,” according to Axios.
An excerpt from the book published by USA Today details an interview that Page conducted with Pelosi in July 2019 following a rumble between her and the Squad, where the four progressive lawmakers reportedly “exploded.” Page noted Pelosi’s “anger at the four new progressive congresswomen was palpable.”
During a news conference in July 2019, Pelosi squashed claims made by former President Donald Trump about the Squad becoming the centerpiece of the Democratic Party, where she firmly said, “let’s not waste our time on that.”
Members of the Squad were later outraged at Pelosi’s remarks.
Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez have had public, back-and-forth arguments since the New York Democrat took office, as Ocasio-Cortez has accused Pelosi of repeatedly blasting female lawmakers of color, while the majority leader has condemned Squad members for sparking intra-party divisions and publicly criticizing Democrats.
The preview of Page’s book comes as Democrats carry slim majorities in both congressional chambers, and party leaders attempt to hold their caucuses together as President Joe Biden plans to pass a multi-trillion infrastructure bill that can afford to lose only a handful of Democratic votes.
Experts, however, don’t anticipate that the rift between the lawmakers will interfere with future legislation.
“Whatever the level of the alleged mockery, it’s hard to imagine either Pelosi or Ocasio-Cortez and fellow ‘Squad’ members allowing it to interfere with their future ability to work together, particularly given the razor-thin margins in the House,” Bruce Buchanan, a presidential scholar and a political analyst at The University of Texas at Austin, said.
Buchanan added, “Seasoned political professionals are usually not that easily bruised by put-downs, particularly when close votes are at stake.”
In another excerpt of the book, which recounted ten interviews with the speaker, Page describes that Pelosi was crushed when 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had lost the presidential election to Trump. Pelosi said “the election of Donald Trump was stunningly scary, and it was justified to be scared. How could they elect such a person—who talked that way about women, who was so crude and … to me, creepy.”
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill.