“That’s stupidly untrue,” the freshman New York lawmaker told Fox News on Capitol Hill, after being asked about accusations that she did just that.
AOC’s denial came after Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., slammed her “inappropriate” suggestion that Pelosi is singling out the New Yorker and her “squad” of fellow freshmen because of their race.
“It was such a weak argument to say she was being picked on and that four women of color were being picked on by the speaker,” Clay said.
“It tells you the level of ignorance to American history on their part as to what we are as the Democratic Caucus. … It is so inappropriate. So uncalled for. It does not do anything to help with unity. It was unfair to Speaker Pelosi.”
Clay continued his broadside, saying the comment exposed how much Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., have to learn when it comes to being “effective legislators”.
“It’s going to take a process of maturing for those freshman members. They will have to learn to be effective legislators,” he said.
“It shows their lack of sensitivity to racism. To fall back on that [trope] is a weak argument. It has no place in a civil discussion.”
The defense of Pelosi came amid a feud between her and Ocasio-Cortez following some dismissive comments by the speaker. Ocasio-Cortez told The Washington Post on Wednesday that the “persistent singling out” was “outright disrespectful” and targeted “newly elected women of color.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, also previously compared moderate Democrats to racists — prompting Pelosi, at the request of some of her members, to warn House Democrats not to attack each other on Twitter.
“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 ok,” she reportedly said.
Pelosi, meanwhile, refused to provide further comment on the feud while discussing it during her weekly press briefing.
“I’ve said what I’m going to say…What I said in the caucus yesterday had an overwhelming response from my members,” she said.
“Because they know what the facts are and what we are responding to. We respect the value of every member of our caucus. The diversity of it all is a wonderful thing. Diversity is our strength. Unity is our power.”
Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.