House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has had enough of her fellow Democrats publicly criticizing one another, and she made it abundantly clear to all at a closed-door meeting on Wednesday.
“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,” Pelosi told other lawmakers at the meeting, reports The Hill, citing “a source in the room.”
Pelosi emphasized that Democratic infighting plays right into Republican hands.
“It was a very stern and forceful speech,” a senior Democratic aide told The Hill.
It was, reports Politico, “the first full caucus meeting since a major blowup over emergency border funding last month between progressive and moderate lawmakers as well as a recent spat with freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)” and others in the party’s liberal wing.
“I’m here to help the children when it’s easy and when it’s hard. Some of you are here to make a beautiful pâté but we’re making sausage most of the time,” Pelosi said.
She reminded the lawmakers that with the House under Democratic control, unity is vital as they take on President Trump and powerful Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Without that unity, we are playing completely into the hands of the other people,” Pelosi said.
“Ocasio-Cortez arrived late to the session and did not speak,” reports the Associated Press, citing a source who was there.
“Other lawmakers, including some first-term members who helped flip Republican seats to the Democratic column in 2018, also made the case for sticking on the same team and keeping the internal drama private,” the AP says.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) also called for party members to stand united, urging members “to speak directly with each other rather than publicly — a sentiment that some lawmakers privately mused could also have been directed at Pelosi after her critique of the caucus’ freshman firebrands,” says Politico.
No one doubts that the party must work its way through big changes, both demographic and generational.
But House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) sought to downplay the divisions with humor.
“It’s all puppies and rainbows,” he said.