Only Pelosi Is Allowed to Publicly Criticize Other Democrats, I Guess

Photo: Alex Brandon (AP Photo)

You got a problem? See Maureen Dowd.

Going off the past couple weeks, that seems to be the new complaint policy. On Saturday, the New York Times columnist published an interview with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which she pushed back on the recent criticisms she’s faced from Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley.

“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” [Pelosi] said. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

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On Wednesday, a Democratic aide told Splinter that Pelosi’s comments to the Times were not meant as a dig; rather, they said Dowd phrased the question in a way that centered a HuffPost article. The aide also said Pelosi’s response was more a “statement of fact” than an unprovoked attack.

A report out on Wednesday in Politico featured Pelosi trying to make a similar case to her party. Citing unnamed sources, the publication detailed a recent meeting Pelosi had with the full caucus of House Democrats, in which she sternly requested any left-leaning Dems harboring issues with other members of the chamber keep those complaints in-house rather than airing them on social media.

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“So, again, you got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it,” Pelosi reportedly said in the meeting, a source in the room told Politico. “But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK.”

The comment was reportedly read as a reference to a recent post from Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Mark Pocan, who, along the aforementioned four progressive House members, was openly critical of Pelosi’s decision to hew to the center-right line and pass Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s border funding bill.

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On Twitter, a Pelosi spokesman said she was not targeting any specific member in the meeting but was talking about “general” Twitter use.

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The Democratic aide offered a similar line of thinking to Splinter and said Pelosi’s office reached out to Pocan’s following the publication of the Politico article to make that point clear. The aide also said Pelosi merely believes “Twitter is not constructive” and doesn’t view Pelosi’s comments to the Times as similar to Pocan’s tweet.

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Ocasio-Cortez and others had pushed for the border bill to include humanitarian stipulations to the appropriated funds, such as health standards for the detention facilities and a three-month limit for children being detained by the U.S. government. But Pelosi, citing resistance from the moderate wing of the party, decided instead to pass the Senate version of the bill, which included none of those measures. In the closed-door meeting with fellow House Democrats, Pelosi touched on the decision by deploying an...interesting metaphor to describe what she views as her job description, according to Politico:

“I’m here to help the children when it’s easy and when it’s hard. Some of you are here to make a beautiful pâté but we’re making sausage most of the time,” Pelosi told the caucus.

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Pelosi also reportedly said that if progressive House Dems feel the need to attack anyone, they should pick her—not members like the so-called Blue Dog Democrats. She added, per Politico, that, “We are a family, and every family has its moments.”

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