During an interview with 60 Minutes that aired on Sunday, January 10, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi responded to criticism from Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Last month, the rising star congresswoman from New York stated that although she herself doesn’t have the experience, she believes it’s time for both Pelosi and Chuck Schumer (who will become Senate Majority Leader this month after Democrats’ big win Georgia) to step down and clear the way for new leadership (via The Hill).
“The internal dynamics of the House has made it such that there’s very little option for succession,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding that there has been no “real grooming of a next generation of leadership.”
During the 60 Minutes interview, host Lesley Stahl asked Pelosi why Ocasio-Cortez has complained that younger members of Congress aren’t being groomed for leadership positions (via Business Insider). “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask her — because we are,” Pelosi answered. The Speaker of the House also told Stahl that she and her fellow Democratic leaders have brought younger politicians into leadership positions, but didn’t elaborate on specifics.
Pelosi urged her caucus not to use social media to express complaints
Since being elected in 2018, Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives in “The Squad” have been vocal in their criticism of Democratic leadership. Pelosi has tried to curb their public comments due to concerns that a divide within the party could help Republicans — particularly in the lead-up to the 2020 election. In July 2019, The Associated Press reported that during a private meeting with her caucus, Pelosi urged them to come directly to her with concerns rather than broadcast them on social media (via The Hill).
“We’re a family and we have our moments,” Pelosi reportedly said in the meeting. “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 okay.”
On 60 Minutes, Stahl pushed Pelosi on the issue, stating that her response to Ocasio-Cortez sounded dismissive. As reported in The Hill, Pelosi responded, “I’m not dismissing her. I respect her. I think she’s very effective, as are … many other members of our caucus that the press doesn’t pay attention to. But they are there and they are building support for what comes next.”
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