House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rules House Democrats with an iron fist, but her worst nightmare is coming true: Progressive Democrats, emboldened by recent events, appear to be defying her authority.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) shocked viewers of a primary debate on Friday when she appeared to have difficulty in deciding whether to publically support Pelosi’s bid for another term as Speaker of the House.
When asked if she stands behind Pelosi’s re-election effort, Ocasio-Cortez replied, “Well you know, that’s always subject to continuing dynamics … But, I support her. Yes. Maybe? Yes. If she wants it. She’s also already indicated that she may or may not run again.”
Ocasio-Cortez enjoys the support of radical leftists, but many in the Democrat establishment see her and those in her progressive cohort as a threat to their deeply cherished power.
The freshman representative made waves on Thursday as well, openly endorsing incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel’s (D-NY) primary challenger. Engel is one of the most deeply entrenched members of the Democrat establishment, currently serving as the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
One anonymous Democrat source complained that “once again, [Ocasio-Cortez] has abandoned her colleagues in Congress and supported an outsider. Sadly, the people she supports often lose. That might be different here, but it has little to do with her. She came in in the ninth inning.”
Nancy Pelosi, on the other hand, issued a passive-aggressive endorsement of Engel after Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise announcement. “I firmly support Eliot Engel for Congress and I support Alexandria for Congress as well,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday. “I think the people of New York are very blessed to have them both in the Congress.”
Ocasio-Cortez has made no bones about her disgust for the establishment since her surprise victory in 2018, and she’s getting bolder in her opposition to Pelosi. It may be only a matter of time before the conflict comes to a head.