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Ocasio-Cortez Not Sold on Ousting Pelosi Because Pelosi Opponents Not Diverse Enough

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) talks with reporters following a photo opportunity with the freshman class on Capitol Hill on Nov. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said she’s wary of the movement among some House Democrats to pick a different speaker for the 116th Congress than Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) because “it creates a window where we could potentially get more conservative leadership.”

Oscasio-Cortez also told MSNBC this evening she doesn’t believe the movement is driven enough by ideological orthodoxy and that the signatories of a letter are “not necessarily reflective of the diversity of the party.”

The letter calling for a new House Democratic leader was signed by Reps. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Max Rose (D-N.Y.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), and Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ). Ben McAdams, whose race in Utah vs. Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) still hasn’t been called, also signed the letter.

“We promised to change the status quo and we intend to deliver on that promise,” the lawmakers wrote. “Therefore, we are committed to voting for new leadership in both our Caucus meeting and on the House floor.”

“We have about 16 signatories, 14 of them are male. There are very few people of color in the caucus. There are very — there’s very few ideological diversity, it’s not like there are progressives that are signing on,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It’s not like you have a broad-based coalition. So I find it — you know I — I’ve not totally bought into the concept.”

In a phone call Saturday with progressive activists, Ocasio-Cortez urged others to run for Congress to try to push out Dems who aren’t as liberal. She told MSNBC tonight of the Pelosi ouster attempt that if “there is no vision, there is no common value… what is the point of just changing our party leadership just for the sake of it?”

She said the call with Justice Democrats was about supporting “working-class candidates to run in midterm elections and — so they have supported and endorsed candidates in red to blues, in open primaries, and — but they do not shy away from actual primaries and blue races either.”

Ocasio-Cortez was asked about the new Long Island headquarters of Amazon that would be adjacent to her district.

“It’s not just about me governing top-down. The reason that I spoke out on this issue to begin with is because organizers and residents of my community were busting down our doors, saying you need to say something about this because we are threatened with homelessness,” she said.

“We’re threatened with rising rents. We have seen this happen in San Francisco and Seattle. We’ve seen it with Foxconn, in the Midwest, as well. And so I — because I don’t — because I did not accept any corporate lobbyist contributions in my campaign, I feel like I have the liberty to advocate directly for what the community is telling me. And if this is what the community is telling me, it’s my responsibility to voice those concerns.”