In a radio interview that aired on Friday, Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, The Washington Post reports.
Referencing comments made by progressives in the House — made in response to Pelosi’s remarks about them — Harris praised Pelosi for being “very supportive” of women of color in the United States Congress.
“That’s not my experience with Nancy Pelosi,” she said.
“And I’ve known her and worked with her for years. I’ve known her to be very respectful of women of color and very supportive of them.”
Harris has recently surged in the polls, following a strong performance in the first Democratic primary debate. As The Los Angeles Times reports, Harris appears to have impressed the electorate by attacking front-runner Joe Biden’s record on busing segregation — the former vice president opposed desegregation.
As The Inquisitr detailed in an earlier report, the tensions between the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and the mainstream establishment wing led by Pelosi have been escalating for quite some time.
Grassroots organizers, activists groups and progressive lawmakers have long accused Pelosi of helping the Trump agenda by refusing to come out in support of impeachment, but the tensions hit fever pitch following the House speaker’s interview with the New York Times, during which she appeared to mock and ridicule progressive members of her caucus.
“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got,” she said of her colleagues, criticizing them for pushing back against a Senate bill expanding funding for the Trump administration’s immigration authorities.
Pelosi backed the bill, letting it pass with no strings attached, angering progressives and 95 other Democrats who voted against the legislation.
The four progressive lawmakers Pelosi was referring to are Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Pressley is African American, Omar is a Somali immigrant, Tlaib is Palestinian-American and Ocasio-Cortez is of Puerto Rican descent.
All four women have responded to Pelosi’s disparaging remarks, with Tlaib accusing Pelosi of “diminishing” the voices of women of color within her caucus, and Ocasio-Cortez slamming the top Democrat for “the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color,” according to The Washington Examiner.
As Politico reported, Pelosi scolded the progressive group during a behind-closed-doors meeting, instructing them to “not tweet” about other Democrats.
As The Daily Beast reported, Congressional Black Caucus member William Lacy Clay defended Pelosi and slammed Ocasio-Cortez, accusing the freshman representative of playing the race card.