A group of freshman Democratic congresswomen responded on social media this weekend to criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who dismissed them and "their Twitter world" in an interview with The New York Times.
Columnist Maureen Dowd asked Pelosi about the opposition to a border funding bill from Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.; and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
Pelosi said "our bill" was the best Democrats could do. She criticized the four liberal freshman – whom Dowd referred to as "the Squad" – for being the only members of their party to vote against the original version of the legislation passed by the Democratic-led House, which included some protections for migrant children.
"All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world," Pelosi said, according to Dowd. "But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got."
The response was swift.
"That public 'whatever' is called public sentiment," Ocasio-Cortez fired back on Twitter. "And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country."
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That public “whatever” is called public sentiment.
And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country. https://t.co/u6JtgwwRsk
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 7, 2019
"I don’t believe it was a good idea for Dems to blindly trust the Trump admin when so many kids have died in their custody," Ocasio-Cortez said, explaining her opposition to the legislation. "It’s a huge mistake. This admin also refuses to hand over docs to Congress on the whereabouts of families. People’s lives are getting bargained, & for what?"
The House version of the border funding bill was rejected by the Republican-led Senate. Pelosi then capitulated and agreed to join the moderates in her party in passing the Senate version of the $4.6 billion bill. Ninety-five Democrats bucked their leader and voted against that version, with another 10 not voting.
Pelosi said she "reluctantly" decided to back the Senate version of the bill because "the children come first" and the emergency funding was needed to get resources to help the mass of migrant children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Pelosi told Dowd that the blame should go to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., whom she called "authentically terrible."
"With all due respect, the press likes to make a story that is more about Democrats divided than the fact that Mitch McConnell doesn’t care about the children," she said.
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Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti said on Twitter that the four Democrats had opposed Pelosi's version of the bill because they did not trust a promise he says McConnell made to Pelosi that he would pass the House version of the bill.
"Nah. It is deeper than that," Tlaib wrote in response to Chakrabarti's tweet. "Why would we fund a broken system that rips children away from their parents, deny asylum seekers due process & fuels a racist ideology that dehumanizes people?"
Tlaib also retweeted two posts that fired back at Pelosi's comment to Dowd, including one from immigrants right advocate Greisa Martínez Rosas who said, "The strategy is simple: Don’t fall for lies. Play to Win," and another from Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein that pointed out the "pivotal policy proposals" authored by each member of "The Squad."
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Worth noting each member of "The Squad" is now the lead author of pivotal policy proposals:
AOC: Green New Deal to rapidly decarbonize US economy
Tlaib: Biggest federal antipoverty subsidy
Omar: $1.6T in student debt forgiveness
Pressley: Backpay 4 contractors in shutdown
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) July 7, 2019
Stein's tweet was also shared by Omar, who responded to Ocasio-Cortez's post about Pelosi's comments with a cry of "Patetico!" – apparently referring to the Spanish word for "pathetic."
"You know they’re just salty about WHO is wielding the power to shift 'public sentiment' these days, sis. Sorry not sorry," Omar tweeted.
You know they’re just salty about WHO is wielding the power to shift “public sentiment” these days, sis.
Sorry not sorry. https://t.co/GYiiP1YJT1
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 7, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, also took issue with Pelosi's dismissal of Twitter, saying the speaker would "rather campaign like it’s 2008."
"I find it strange when members act as though social media isn’t important," she said before using emojis to slam conventional campaigning, which spends millions of dollars on television advertising.
"I haven’t dialed for dollars *once* this year, & have more time to do my actual job," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
I find it strange when members act as though social media isn’t important.
They set millions of 💵 on 🔥 to run TV ads so people can see their message.
I haven’t dialed for dollars *once* this year, & have more time to do my actual job. Yet we’d rather campaign like it’s 2008.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 7, 2019
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib fire back at Nancy Pelosi's 'Twitter world' quip