House Democrats Target AOC’s Chief of Staff After He Attacked Native American Lawmaker

July 13, 2019 Updated: July 14, 2019

House Democrats attacked the chief of staff for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) late July 12, the latest split on the left that highlights established lawmakers’ growing impatience with radical freshman representatives.

Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti wrote in late June that Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) was helping enable “a racist system.”

The official House Democratic Caucus Twitter account shared a screenshot of the post on Friday, writing: “Who is this guy and why is he explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color? Her name is Congresswoman Davids, not Sharice.”

“She is a phenomenal new member who flipped a red seat blue. Keep her name out of your mouth,” the account added.

Michael Hardaway, a spokesman for the caucus, told a reporter that the tweet was not an accident. Hardaway later posted a screenshot from the film “Menace II Society,” showing the main character, who in the film seeks to take revenge for a friend’s murder.

Chakrabarti responded by claiming he’s a friend of Davids.

“This tweet was in response to someone else’s tweet where they specifically brought up Rep. Davids. Why did you leave that out? I’ve known Rep. Davids for a long time, consider her a friend, and encouraged her to run for Congress back in the fall of 2016. I’m glad she did,” he wrote.

“Everything I tweeted 2 weeks ago was to call out the terrible border funding bill that 90+ Dems opposed. It gave Trump a blank check to continue caging people in horrendous conditions. Our Democracy is literally falling apart. I’m not interested in substance-less Twitter spats,” he added.

Ocasio-Cortez appeared at a rally for Brent Welder, Davids’ opponent in 2018.

“Brent can win, he can win,” Ocasio-Cortez said last year on The Dig, a podcast from far-left Jacobin magazine, according to The Intercept. “And he can not only win his primary, but he can win in a red-to-blue district on a progressive vision. And I think that’s so exciting.”

Welder, who was seen as further to the left than Davids, lost by just over 2,000 votes in the Democratic primary. Davids went on to beat incumbent Kevin Yoder by about 21,000 votes in the general election.

(L-R) Representatives-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.) Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), and Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) join with other newly elected members of the House of Representatives for an official class photo of new House members at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Nov. 14, 2018. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Davids, whose campaign promises included a middle class tax cut, creating a childcare tax credit, and expanding Medicaid, has not responded to Ocasio-Cortez’s camp. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), leader of the House Democrats, has also stayed silent.

The latest spat erupted after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) admonished Ocasio-Cortez and her three closest allies, criticizing them for their alleged overuse of Twitter over working on legislation and other matters in the real world.

While the public feud simmers, a recent analysis found that some other freshmen Democrats have consistently voted with Pelosi, including some who promised during their campaigns to oppose her.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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