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Pelosi, After Railing Against AOC and Others in NYT Interview, Tells Critics in Caucus Not to Vent Criticism on Twitter

"You got a problem? See Maureen Dowd. Going off the past couple weeks, that seems to be the new complaint policy."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus Wednesday to take any problems to her and leave Twitter out of it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus Wednesday to take any problems to her and leave Twitter out of it. (Photo: Greg Nash)

The war of words between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the more left-leaning members of her caucus intensified on Wednesday during a closed door meeting during which the Democratic leader admonished freshmen members of Congress for their use of social media.

"Nancy Pelosi is more worried about people tweeting about her than the looming destruction of human civilization."
—Kate Aronoff

According to reporting from Politico, Pelosi told members of her caucus that if they have problems they should come to her and not post publicly about their disagreements. A source in the room for the meeting told Politico that Pelosi delivered "stern" comments to members about the way they were handling fractures in the House.

"So, again, you got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it," said Pelosi. "But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just ok."

Critics of the Speaker were quick to point out that Pelosi gave an interview to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on July 6 in which the Speaker disparaged a number of members of her caucus, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Ilhan Omar (Minn.), for their resistance to compromising with President Donald Trump's war on immigrants.

"You got a problem? See Maureen Dowd," wrote Splinter's Nick Martin. "Going off the past couple weeks, that seems to be the new complaint policy."

Others appropriately took to Twitter to vent their frustration at the Speaker's behavior. 

Journalist Kate Aronoff questioned Pelosi's priorities.

"Nancy Pelosi is more worried about people tweeting about her than the looming destruction of human civilization," said Aronoff. 

Boston-based activist Jonathan Cohn cited the support Pelosi had from progressive members of the caucus when members of the party attempted to force a change in leadership in January. 

"Pelosi's condemnation and dismissal of the members who are responsible for her re-election as Speaker and praise of those who sought to oust her says so much," Cohn said. 

Pelosi's spokesman Drew Hammill also took to Twitter to downplay hints at dissent in the ranks. 

"The Speaker was not scolding progressives," tweeted Hammill. "She was saying to all members that we as a family should have our conversations together as a caucus not on Twitter. This was a general comment not aimed at any particular member or group. This was a unifying speech and well received."

Politico, however, reported that Pelosi's comment did appear to have a target:

Democrats inside the room said they interpreted that remark as a shot at Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who called moderate Democrats members of the "Child Abuse Caucus" in a tweet over their support for the Senate's version of the emergency humanitarian package.

Pelosi also delivered a defense of her shepherding through a bill on immigration that funneled billions of dollars to ICE, a move that sparked the row between the Speaker and progressive members of the House. 

"I'm here to help the children when it's easy and when it's hard," said Pelosi. "Some of you are here to make a beautiful pâté but we're making sausage most of the time."

Pressley, in comments to Boston radio affiliate WGBH Tuesday evening, said that in her opinion half-measures on immigration were harmful to the party and its ideology.

"I do not believe that that advances the cause, or helps our party or strengthens us going into 2020," said Pressley. 

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