House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is trying to have it both ways when it comes to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and her band of freshman socialists, celebrating or dismissing them, depending on the audience.
In an interview airing on "60 Minutes" Sunday night, Pelosi drew headlines for downplaying the influence of Ocasio-Cortez and her House allies. Asked about how she could hold the House together when the Democratic caucus is split between socialists and centrists, Pelosi said of Ocasio-Cortez's group, “That’s like five people.”
Speaking to the broader national audience, she said, “By and large, whatever orientation they came to Congress with, they know that we have to hold the center. That we have to be — go down the mainstream."
This isn't the first time Pelosi has made comments that have lead to headlines about how she's "throwing shade" at Ocasio-Cortez. Earlier this month, Pelosi said "large numbers of votes" were more important than a "large number of Twitter followers." In February, she referred to Ocasio-Cortez's signature Green New Deal initiative as, "The green dream or whatever they call it."
Yet at other times, Pelosi has been trying to exploit the enthusiasm of the young group of freshman members, particularly when targeting a younger, more liberal audience. She emerged as a defender of anti-Semitic Rep. Ilhan Omar, even before the most recent controversy over Sept. 11. She had to, because she knows the power that the resurgent Left wields within her caucus.
And she also posed on the cover of Rolling Stone with Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and another freshman liberal Jahana Hayes, D-Conn, and celebrated the cover on Twitter.
A picture is worth 1,000 words but @aoc, @IlhanMN, @JahanaHayesCT and Nancy on the cover of @RollingStone is worth millions of dreams to women and girls across America.— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) March 2, 2019
To them we say: know your power. Know your worth. Have a plan. And be ready. #WomensHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/tCp84ixRw2
Does Pelosi just make it a habit to pose on the cover of national magazines with random insignificant members of Congress that only represent a small, and not particularly influential, part of the Democratic Party? Of course not. Pelosi is trying to present the Democratic Party as mainstream when speaking to a broader audience, and yet she wants to appease and ride the wave of energy brought along by the young and resurgent Left at the same time.