Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway called the spat between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and four female freshmen Democrats a “major meow moment,” mocking the “huge catfight” over border aid spending between the House leader and some of her highest-profile caucus members.
Conway, in an interview with Fox News, said Pelosi had “brushed back” Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over their opposition to a bipartisan emergency funding bill that nonetheless opened a rift among House Democrats.
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“Those four female Democrats that Nancy Pelosi is brushing back, I think they are all freshman members,” the White House senior adviser continued. “A major ‘meow moment’ — brushing back in a huge catfight, really ridiculing them — and they voted against the Democratic aid package.”
The supplemental border spending package, which passed the House two weeks ago, approved $4.6 billion to address the growing humanitarian crisis at the southern border. Although they had initially passed a much tougher measure roughly along party lines, centrist House Democrats forced Pelosi to drop it in favor of legislation with fewer stipulations that had passed the Senate by a wide bipartisan margin and that the White House had signaled its approval of.
While the Senate-backed bill cleared the House, many in the caucus’s progressive wing were unwilling to support the legislation because it did not include restrictions from the House version meant to protect migrant children.
The opposition from the liberal freshmen, who have strong social media followings and national profiles, prompted barbed criticism from Pelosi in an interview with the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd that was published Sunday.
“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” the House speaker said. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
Ocasio-Cortez hit back at Pelosi over Twitter later Sunday, writing online, “that public ‘whatever’ is called public sentiment. And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country.”
Asked to address the speaker’s remarks Sunday during an interview on ABC, Tlaib called it “very disappointing” that Pelosi “would ever try to diminish our voices in so many ways.”
Many Democratic members of Congress have sought in recent weeks to bring national attention to the conditions at migrant detention facilities during trips to stations along the southern border, which they have accused of lacking basic resources and holding children in unsanitary conditions.
Conway on Tuesday called such tours by Ocasio-Cortez and others hypocritical, telling Fox News: “They preen around, going to these detention centers, going to these places and saying, ‘Oh my God, look what’s happening,’ and then they vote against $4.6 billion worth of aid including the Democratic package.”