Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., appeared to slight Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s work as a legislator, telling The New York Times that the New York Democrat was “more active on Twitter than anything else.”
Manchin, a moderate, made those comments after Ocasio-Cortez posted a photo of herself staring at him. She was responding to his comments knocking the “defund the police” movement.
“I guess she put the dagger stare on me,” Manchin said in an interview published Tuesday. He added: “I don’t know the young lady — I really don’t. I never met her. I’m understanding she’s not that active with her bills or in committee. She’s more active on Twitter than anything else.”
Manchin’s comments again brought attention to the ongoing feud between more progressive members and others within the Democratic Party. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., similarly dismissed Ocasio-Cortez’s influence last year when she told the Times that the New York congresswoman and the other three original Squad members “have their public whatever and their Twitter world.”
Her criticism followed the Squad’s rejection of a massive border funding measure that received bipartisan support.
“But they didn’t have any following,” Pelosi added. “They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
While the Squad started with four members, its ranks have since grown and Republicans have leveraged the group’s public notoriety in an attempt to portray the entire party as moving too far to the left.
After House Democrats saw what’s been described as a disappointing showing in November, moderate Democratic lawmakers complained about the party embracing positions like “defund the police” and socialism.
“We lost races we shouldn’t have lost,” an animated Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said during a caucus call after the election. “Defund the police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad. Don’t say socialism ever again. We need to get back to basics.”
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., similarly said if “we are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we’re not going to win,” his office confirmed.
But Ocasio-Cortez and her squadmate, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., have suggested that staking out more progressive stances isn’t an electoral liability.
“We do not win by shrinking away from the cause of justice,” she tweeted this month. “We win by organizing, meeting people where they are, and communicating a clear value set.”
Ocasio-Cortez similarly hit back at former Sen. Claire McCaskill, a moderate Democrat after she suggested the party lost voters because of its stances on certain social issues.
“Why do we listen to people who lost elections as if they are experts in winning elections?” Ocasio-Cortez asked. “McCaskill tried her approach. She ran as a caravan-hysteria Dem & lost while grassroots organizers won progressive measures in MO [Missouri]. Her language here shows how she took her base for granted.”
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